Sharks to pace their game against the Leopards

2010-08-11 00:00

PLAY-MAKING Sharks flank Jean Deysel’s knee injury — suffered during the weekend’s Currie Cup match against the Lions — is far more serious than initially feared and he will play no more rugby until March next year.

The burly, physical flank suffered a posterior cruciate ligament tear and damage to his knee cartilage and Sharks head coach John Plumtree said Deysel would be sidelined for between six and eight months.

“It is devastating news for Jean and us. If rehab goes well, and he is a fast healer, he could be back after the first few rounds of the Super 15 (in 2011).”

Plumtree said Deysel, who was injured after just four minutes of the Lions game, went down in “an insignificant tackle”.

“It was a freak injury, really, but it is a big blow.”

Deysel, who recently returned to action after a lengthy break with an arm injury, was a strong candidate for the Springbok squad to tour the UK at the end of the year.

Plumtree said that the Sharks’ remaining loose forwards, Keegan Daniel, Jacques Botes and Willem Alberts, would now have major roles to play in the Currie Cup.

“We are expecting Ryan Kankowski back from the Springboks at some stage and we have Michael Rhodes as well.”

The Sharks coach said he was also expecting to lose hooker Bismarck du Plessis, a contracted Springbok, at some stage in the Currie Cup but had cover in Craig Burden and Kyle Cooper.

“Otherwise we are in a good position as far as injuries are concerned and we should have [wing] Odwa Nudunage back this weekend.”

Looking ahead to Friday night’s away game to the Leopards, Plumttee said his players would have to maintain their intensity to win although they would be more conservative in their approach.

“Looking at the stats, we made 130 tackles against the Lions and they 243 tackles.

“We had 60 more rucks than the Lions and I think this showed at the end. If you can dominate that area, and keep the ball for long periods, it is exhausting for the opposition.”

The Sharks coach said altitude would be a factor on Friday “and we will have to be smarter in the way we play”.

The Sharks played a high tempo, ball-in-the-hand style of rugby against the Lions but Plumtree said they would be more conservative against the Leopards.

“The players can’t maintain the same level of intensity up-country as they can at the coast.”

He said that he respected teams like the Leopards and the Pumas who have learnt what is needed in the Currie Cup and had stepped up their fitness.

“They’re lasting longer in their games and the Leopards scored five tries against Bulls and three against Griquas. Two of their loose forwards are carrying the ball 15 or 16 times a game.

“The Leopards ran the Bulls really close and if we are mentally off, and the attitude is not right, we can get hurt. We can’t afford that because we have to hang on to Western Province.

“They are dominating this competition and we can’t let them get away.”

Plumtree said the the Sharks’ form has been patchy “but when we’ve got it right, we have looked good”.

“The challenge for us is continuity. Unfortunately, we have had to make changes and break up combinations but that will always be the case with the Boks coming and going.”

Plumtree said that former Bok flyhalf Andre Pretorius, who is undergoing injury rehab in Durban but is not under contract to the Sharks, could challenge for a place in the team in the near future.

“He does need to play some form of club rugby before selection, but he could give us other options.”

The Sharks coach said that Pat Lambie, who had his first outing at flyhalf against the Lions, would be allowed to settle into the position.

“I’ve chatted to some coaches I respect and they’re complimentary of his performance.

“I’m also excited about Jacques-Louis Potgieter coming here (for the Super 15) and he’s a good player.

“Pat can play at 12 (inside centre) and 15 (fullback) as well, but he will be given time to prove his worth at flyhalf and to see if he enjoys playing there.”

The game starts at 7.10 pm.

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