Sharks: knee injury rules paul Jordaan out for the rest of the season

2013-04-24 00:00

THE injury-ravaged Sharks suffered another devastating setback yesterday when young centre Paul Jordaan was ruled out of the rest of the year with a badly damaged knee.

This latest in a long line of injuries was confirmed by head coach John Plumtree in Sydney where the Sharks have stopped over on their way to New Zealand.

“We’re very disappointed to have lost Paul [Jordaan]. He’s out for the rest of the season.”

Plumtree said that Jordaan had suffered an ACL (knee ligament) injury which would keep him out of action for six to nine months.

“We were just having a light training run after the long flight and he was playing touch rugby when he wrenched the knee.

“It’s a big blow for the team and hugely disappointing for Paul. It’s the last thing we needed. We are already depleted and to lose a guy in our first training session is pretty depressing. Still, there’s not much we can do.”

The Sharks have been shorn of all their first-choice outside backs with Springbok wings JP Pietersen and Lwazi Mvovo, fullback Louis Ludik, utility back Andries Coetzee and centres Tim Whitehead and now Jordaan among the 14-odd players who are sidelined.

Plumtree said they were hoping to rush Mvovo (fractured thumb) back from injury and fly him to New Zealand as a replacement for Jordaan, who has played in all the Sharks’ Super Rugby games this year.

“We’ll wait for a medical report on Lwazi to see how far he is away and we’ll possibly fly him over,” the coach said.

Plumtree said he could move JP Pietersen from wing to outside centre once he returns from his ankle injury.

“We’ll make those decisions once we know the status with Lwazi. We might be forced to play JP in the midfield. It’s not his primary position obviously, but he did a good job for us last year and he does bring an X-factor to the backline.

“We’re hoping to have JP back for the Highlanders’ game next week.”

The Sharks are temporarily based in Sydney before flying on to Hamilton in New Zealand tomorrow for Saturday’s tour opener against the title-holding Chiefs.

Plumtree said that the Sharks’ two other replacements, Vodacom Cup loosehead Danie Mienie and wing S’bura Sithole, had joined the squad in Sydney.

The specialist and highly regarded loosehead, Lions captain JC Janse van Rensburg, will join the Sharks in Hamilton. Van Rensburg is flying to New Zealand from France where he has been in talks with his new club Bayonne.

Plumtree said the Sharks, battling form and injury, were looking no further than the Chiefs this weekend.

“It’s week to week for us. We need to pick a team for the weekend and there might be a player or two out of position which is not ideal. But, in saying that, we still have a really good side. We just have to dig in and do our best.

“We’ve worked really hard trying to improve our game and our attack, but it is really difficult with all these setbacks.”

The Chiefs, the early pacesetters, have lost two games in a row.

“They won’t be all that happy with those defeats,” said Plumtree, “but we have also lost successive games. We are not worrying about their problems …”

The Chiefs received a boost yesterday when their lock and captain, Craig Clarke, returned to the team. He has missed their last five matches following his concussion against the Stormers in Cape Town on March 9.

Fullback Andrew Horrell (ankle) No. 8 Fritz Lee (broken finger) and Richard Kahui (hamstring) were all injured last weekend. All Black Kahui was back at training yesterday.

The match is on Saturday (9.35 am SA time).

New Zealand referee Chris Pollock will handle the game.

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