Shoulder strain will keep Pienaar out of Bulls clash

2008-02-26 00:00

INITIAL fears that Sharks scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar had broken his collar bone in the Super 14 game against the Stormers at the weekend proved unfounded, but he will miss this weekend’s trip to Loftus to face the Bulls.

Sharks doctor Craig Roberts said yesterday that he had been concerned when Pienaar went down in a tackle and his chest was compressed.

“He was in a lot of pain when he came off the field and we thought he might have broken his collarbone.”

But Roberts said that Pienaar had suffered a bad strain of the joint at the shoulder and this would keep him out of the Bulls game. “It’s not serious and we are hoping he will be ready for the Blues game [in Durban on March 8].”

The Sharks have a ready-made replacement, both at scrumhalf and as a goalkicker, in Rory Kockott, who had an excellent final quarter after replacing Pienaar against the Stormers.

Coach Dick Muir also has back-up in the lively Charl McLeod, signed from the Falcons this year and one of the few Wildebeest players to emerge with any credit from the disappointing Vodacom Cup defeat to the Pumas on Saturday.

Frederic Michalak, who started his Test career at scrumhalf for France, could also be used at the base of the scrum.

Roberts said that props Pat Cilliers and Deon Carstens were making steady progress and should be ready within the next few weeks, while lock Steve Sykes, who turned out for the Wildebeests on Saturday, is over his shoulder surgery, but is short of match fitness.

Muir said he will not be taking the Bulls challenge lightly in spite of their 50-point weekend defeat to the Crusaders at Loftus.

“For the Super 14 champions to lose by 50 points is alarming, but, if anything, that will make our job even harder on Saturday evening.”

The match kicks off at 7.05 pm.

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