Van der Linde faces ban

2008-08-25 00:00

Springbok right wing JP Pietersen was yesterday ruled out of Saturday’s Tri-Nations Test against Australia at Ellis Park.

Pietersen sustained a grade one hamstring strain in the Tri-Nations clash against the Wallabies in Durban on Saturday, and when the Springboks sneeze, the Sharks catch cold. Sharks coach John Plumtree lost Odwa Ndungane as Pietersen’s replacement and he could also lose prop Jannie du Plessis today as a replacement for CJ van der Linde.

The decision as to whether Springbok prop Van der Linde and Wallabies flanker Rocky Elsom will be available for Saturday’s Test has been deferred until today.

The two players both appeared before a Sanzar judicial panel in Durban yesterday after being cited for foul play during the weekend’s 27-15 win by the Wallabies over the Springboks at King’s Park.

The Sharks face Boland in a Currie Cup match in Wellington on Friday night and they could be hit by further Bok call-ups.

Butch James damaged his knee in Saturday’s Test and, while it is not believed to be serious, Ruan Pienaar could be called in as cover.

Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis also injured his knee during the Test and he is doubtful. A decision on his availability for selection will be made later this week.

Captain and lock Victor Matfield, who injured his groin when he was taken out at a lineout, is another who will have to pass a fitness test later in the week.

On a more positive note, Bryan Habana may be fit to return at Ellis Park. He has been nursing a hamstring strain and missed the Durban Test, but if passed fit, he would obviously return for Pietersen.

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers said yesterday that Habana is making good progress after a hamstring strain against the All Blacks at Newlands nine days ago.

“There are some tough decisions to make,” De Villiers said.

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