Vodacom Super 14

Sharks face one less All Black

2010-02-23 11:37
Isaac Ross (File)
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – The Crusaders have been dealt a blow ahead of their Super 14 encounter with the Sharks on Friday, with All Blacks lock Isaac Ross laid low by an ankle injury.

The setback occurred in training on Monday, according to New Zealand press reports, with Tasman’s Joe Wheeler summoned to the squad as a result.

The team will be announced on Wednesday, amidst speculation that ace fetcher Richie McCaw will start his season off the bench against the South Africans after being given a couple of weeks off at the start of the competition – without him, the fancied Crusaders were humbled by the Reds in Brisbane last weekend.

There may be some quiet relief over the Ross news in the visiting camp ahead of the vital outing, with both sides coming off losses and the Sharks yet to open their account in 2010.

That is because the Durban-based side have had plenty of second-row problems of their own with Johann Muller labouring with a neck injury – although he is part of the touring group – and new signing Gerhard Mostert already ruled out for the rest of the tournament.

Their specialist locks on the five-match overseas leg are Steven Sykes, Muller and Emerging Springbok Wilhelm Steenkamp, loaned to them a few days ago from the Bulls.

The Bulls’ generosity raised some eyebrows but there appeared to be method to the apparent madness when Flip van der Merwe excelled in a start alongside Victor Matfield against the Brumbies at Loftus on Saturday – the champions won 50-32 – while versatile Danie Rossouw is fit again after a neck spasm and Bakkies Botha ought to return from his own layoff soon.

Meanwhile the Brumbies have made one change to their starting XV to play the unbeaten Stormers at Newlands on Friday, veteran second-rower Justin Harrison relegated to the bench and Ben Hand starting.

The supposedly reformed bad boy Harrison was briefly linked with a switch to Boland in pre-season, which might have seen him enter the Stormers picture as well.

Alongside him on the Brumbies bench will be two players who do have some experience of rugby at Newlands, hooker Huia Edmonds and flyhalf Matt Toomua: the latter had a short stint in Cape Town during the 2009 Absa Currie Cup.


15. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14. Pat McCabe, 13. Stirling Mortlock, 12. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Francis Fainifo, 10. Matt Giteau, 9. Josh Valentine, 8. Stephen Hoiles (captain), 7. George Smith, 6. Rocky Elsom, 5. Mark Chisholm, 4. Ben Hand, 3. Salesi Ma’afu, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. Ben Alexander

Substitutes: 16. Huia Edmonds, 17. Guy Shepherdson, 18. Justin Harrison, 19. Mitchell Chapman, 20. Patrick Phibbs, 21. Matt Toomua, 22. Tyrone Smith


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

If Super14 champs, the Bulls, had to take on Heineken Cup champs, Toulouse, at a neutral venue, which side would win?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.