This weekend’s match against the Brumbies will be the first time Sharks coach John Plumtree will be making enforced changes to his team with the loss of one, possibly two players, and the possible return of one.
Keegan Daniel participated in Tuesday morning’s training, having recovered sufficiently from the knee injury he sustained in The Sharks pre-season warm-up match against the Leopards in Pietermaritzburg in early February and could be included this weekend.
Unfortunately, The Sharks have suffered a possible double-blow at loose-forward (Keegan Daniel’s return couldn’t have come at a better time).
“Jean Deysel is possibly out for three to four weeks with ankle ligament damage, it’s not good news for us,” explained Sharks coach John Plumtree at a media conference at KINGS PARK on Tuesday afternoon.
“Hopefully it’s not worse than that but he needs another scan, although we are confident that it’s not as bad as we originally thought. He’ll hopefully be back after the bye. It’s bad news for him too, he was playing so nicely, he’s worked so hard on his rehab, he’s got himself in great shape. But that time will go quickly and he’ll be back before you know it.”
That bad news was offset by the return of campaign captain Keegan Daniel who Plumtree said had, “trained really well this morning, so we’re hoping he might be able to make a return this week, which will ease some of the pain. Jacques Botes has a suspected cracked wrist, he could be out for three to four weeks as well. If Keegan comes back, we’ll be alright, but we will definitely have to draft someone in from The Sharks XV squad.”
While there might be the argument for easing a player back into the squad and only playing off the bench, The Sharks coach is happy that Daniel could start the game.
“If Keegan is fit, he can start, he’s a naturally fit guy. He might find it a bit tough because he hasn’t played in a while but he’ll back himself. Pieter-Steph du Toit is an option at loose forward as well, but I would prefer for him to stick to one position for his development at lock; but if push came to shove, I could play him at blindside.”
Plumtree confirmed that if Daniel starts, he’ll be named captain.
Frans Steyn left the field in the 61st minute of the game, but Plumtree pointed out that there was nothing to read into replacing his captain.
“Francois had a bad week last week, he had a neck injury and wasn’t feeling good, even in the warm-up he was struggling a bit. l could tell by the way he was playing that he wasn’t happy in the game, so I got him off and Meyer came on. He’s feeling a lot better this week, I’m sure he’ll be alright.”