Young Sharks tighthead cited for ‘Bakkies-style’ charge, suspension could prove a headache for coach

2009-08-25 00:00

THE Sharks’ problems in the front-row were compounded yesterday when young tighthead Wiehahn Herbst was cited following an incident during Saturday’s Currie Cup win over Griquas.

Herbst, an U21 player, was yellow-carded after charging into a ruck — Bakkies Botha-style — during the game and he has been charged with dangerous play and will have to face a disciplinary hearing in Cape Town today.

Herbst performed strongly on the tighthead in an improved Sharks scrum on Saturday and this citing comes ahead of the big game against Western Province at King’s Park on Saturday and at a particularly bad time. The Sharks already have props John Smit, Beast Mtawarira and Jannie du Plessis away with the Springboks, while their remaining front-row men, Deon Carstens and Patric Cilliers, are nursing niggles.

The news on the Sharks’ injury front is mostly good. John Plumtree, the Sharks head coach, said that Argentinian flyhalf Juan Martin Hernandez, who has been nursing a sore ankle, is running freely at practice and he is expected to be fit to face Province. Centres Andries Strauss, who left the field on Saturday with a hip problem, and Riaan Swanepoel, sidelined by injury at the weekend, could both be available.

Plumtree faces a number of testing selections. He said that the in-form Charl McLeod is “placing pressure on Rory Kockott” for the scrumhalf berth. Kockott, fiery and an excellent goalkicker, has been a persistent and brave performer for the Sharks in recent seasons, but McLeod’s slick service appears to be bringing out the best in the Sharks backline.

Kockott, who has been out for the past fortnight with a shoulder injury, played in the last quarter on Saturday, but did appear sluggish and was obviously short of match sharpness after his break.

Plumtree will also have to choose two of Swanepoel, Strauss and Waylon Murray at centre if the midfield injury problems are resolved.

While the Sharks have a front-row headache, WP have second-row concerns. Adriaan Fondse will miss the rest of the Currie Cup after suffering a knee injury against the Lions. He will undergo surgery today and will only return to action during next year’s Super 14.

An unconfirmed report yesterday also claimed that Fondse’s fellow lock, Anton van Zyl, has been cited for stomping against the Lions.

WP will have All Black Chris Jack back at lock but, if Van Zyl is suspended, they will have a real problem in the second row.

The Sharks are three points clear of WP at the top of the log. The match kicks off at 3 pm on Saturday.

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