Super Rugby season over for deputy scrumhalf Hoffman

2011-05-31 00:00

FLANK Jean Deysel’s disciplinary hearing will only take place today, but the good news from the Sharks camp is that number eight Ryan Kankowski will be back and ready to face the Cheetahs in the Super Rugby game in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

The gloomy news is that scrumhalf Conrad Hoffman’s Super Rugby season is over.

Deysel, cited for dangerous play after the weekend game against the Waratahs at King’s Park, was scheduled to appear before Sanzar judicial officer Peter Ingwersen SC yesterday, but the hearing was postponed until this morning.

Sharks coach John Plumtree will at least have a ready-made replacement if Deysel is suspended, with Kankowski returning after fracturing a cheekbone.

Sharks team doctor Ewoudt van der Linde told The Witness yesterday that Kankowski is “ready to go”.

“He could probably have played against the Waratahs, but it has now been five weeks since the injury and the fact that he didn’t need surgery has shortened the recovery period.”

Van der Linde said the medical report on scrumhalf Hoffman, who left the field in the first quarter on Saturday with an elbow injury, is far more serious. “Conrad will miss the rest of the Super Rugby competition. He may well require surgery on the elbow and he will be out for between eight and 12 weeks.”

Plumtree has said that Westville Old Boy Tian Meyer, who is now with the Pumas and had trained with the Sharks in pre-season, could return as back-up to scrumhalf Charl Mcleod.

Ross Cronje, the Sharks XV scrumhalf, provides Plumtree with another option.

The unfortunate Hoffman has sat on the bench for the Sharks’ first 12 Super Rugby games this year and then lasted just 15 minutes when Plumtree started with him for the first time against the Waratahs.

Van der Linde said that centre Adi Jacobs, who missed the Waratahs game because of an ankle injury, has recovered well.

“He will face a fitness test on Thursday to see if he is ready for the Cheetahs,” he added.

The Cheetahs, in spite of a cruel run of luck, are still proving a major surprise in the second half of the competition.

They lost their sixth flank of the season in their 32-21 loss to the Bulls on Saturday, when Kabamba Floors went down with a knee ligament problem at Loftus.

But Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské said he was delighted and proud of his players after their narrow loss.

“I said to the guys afterwards that they still played with a lot of heart and we could have won this game with a little bit of luck.

“We have two games left and we need one more win for the best season ever, so there is a lot to play for.”

The Cheetahs coach said injuries could not be used as an excuse.

“But we have lost nine players in the loose forward and lock positions — three locks and now six loose forwards with Kabamba’s injury.”

Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss told News24 that the players are looking forward to their games against the Sharks and the Stormers in Bloemfontein.

“The guys are still positive and we feel that we still have a lot to play for playing at home.”

He also said the Bulls have improved dramatically during the tournament.

“Credit to the Bulls — they have a good tight five and they are starting to peak.”

Saturday’s game in Bloemfontein kicks off at 5.05 pm and South African referee Mark Lawrence will be in charge.

Meanwhile, Sanzar judicial officer Nick Davidson QC has reserved judgment on the hearings of Lions flank Michael Rhodes and Highlanders wing Siale Piutau until today.

The hearings took place in Dunedin yesterday.

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