Injury curse strikes Sharks again
April 24, 2013
JP Pietersen is unlikely to be fit this week as the Sharks struggle with injuries © Getty Images
The Sharks have lost yet another player to injury ahead of their Super Rugby match against the Chiefs in Hamilton.
Centre Paul Jordaan injured his knee during training in Sydney on Monday and has been ruled out for the rest of the season, further depleting a squad struck down by injury ahead of their four-match Australasian tour.
Impressive 21-year-old Jordaan, a member of the world champion Junior Springboks last year, suffered a knee ligament injury while playing a game of touch rugby and will be sidelined for six-to-nine months.
Their New Zealand coach John Plumtree described Jordaan's departure as a "big blow" as he surveys an injury list that he says has swelled to 16.
Backs Lwazi Mvovo (hand), Tim Whitehead (hand), Butch James (knee), Louis Ludik (shoulder) and forwards Bismarck du Plessis (knee), Jacques Botes (hand), Willem Alberts (shoulder) and Tendai Mtawarira (calf) had already been ruled out of the squad to play the Chiefs, the Highlanders, Queensland Reds and Western Force, and last year's beaten finalists must now fear losing all four tour matches.
The Sharks have been forced to call in a number of loan players for the replay of last year's final, won by the Chiefs, at Waikato Stadium.
Plumtree says injured Springboks winger JP Pietersen could be an option to replace Jordaan at centre but he probably won't be fit until the tour's second match, against the Highlanders in Dunedin next week.
After two straight losses, last year's runners-up have fallen to third in the South African conference and seventh overall.
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Women's World Cup, the opening round of the Top 14 and the Rugby Championship