Sharks to go hard against Pumas

2013-02-12 00:00

SHARKS captain and backrow forward Keegan Daniel and centre Tim Whitehead will play no Super Rugby in February and March.

Coach John Plumtree confirmed yesterday that an MRI scan had revealed that Daniel has a Grade 2 injury to his medial cruciate ligament and was expected to be sidelined for six weeks.

Whitehead suffered a broken arm in the pre-season friendly against the Leopards at Woodburn Stadium on Friday night and he will be out for two months.

Both could return to action following the Sharks’ bye in Round 7 over the Easter weekend at the end of March.

Plumtree said the rehab of Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis was on track after major knee surgery and the Sharks were hoping to take him on their tour to New Zealand and Australia at the end of April.

Sharks’ backline coach, Hugh Reece-Edwards, said injury setbacks in warm-up games “are unfortunate because they seem so unnecessary”.

“But at the same time, we do have the depth. Ryan Kankowski [the Springbok number eight] is back from Japan and he provides cover for Keegan.

“We’ll have a look at Ryan in the next day or two and see where he is [in terms of fitness and conditioning].

“We have Paul Jordaan at outside centre and we also used JP Pietersen in that position last year and could use him there again.”

Reece-Edwards said Meyer Bosman provided cover for 10 (Pat Lamie) and 12 (Frans Steyn).

“He came on at flyhalf on Friday night and did an excellent job.”

The Sharks have their final Super Rugby warm-up game against the Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday night.

“We are certainly going into this game praying that there are no more injuries,” he added.

In spite of the injuries on Friday night, Reece-Edwards said the game against the Leopards was not the physical contest they had wanted.

“I don’t think we played a first-choice Leopards team and I think they were experimenting quite a bit as well.

“From the point of view of excitement, there was some good ball-handling and attack and I’m really happy with that. But we needed the game to be a bit harder and, I think, we’ll get that this Friday against the Pumas.”

Reece-Edwards conceded that the lineouts and the re-starts had been sloppy.

“We’ll work on those areas specifically. Our scrum was sound and what was really good was when we made a number of changes, we kept our shape and we ended up scoring more tries in the second half than we did in the first.”

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