Jordaan returns for Sharks
Gavin Rich - SuperSport
Johannesburg - Outside centre Paul Jordaan will return to the Sharks selection mix for this coming week’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Lions in Johannesburg.
According to the supersport.com website, Jordaan has been out for a month with a knee injury picked up in the first round game against the Lions in Durban, and will probably replace S’bura Sithole in the No 13 jersey.
However, Sharks coach Jake White did hint at a press conference before the recent clash with the Waratahs that the return of Jordaan might impact on his selection at flyhalf.
Fred Zeilinga did really well against the Waratahs in his first game in the No 10 in place of Patrick Lambie, who is out for the rest of the season with a torn bicep, and deserves to get a second crack at it at Ellis Park, where he starred for the Sharks in a Currie Cup game against the Lions.
But although he wasn’t as taken with Frans Steyn’s performance at flyhalf when he had to play there as a last minute replacement earlier in the year as some sections of the media and public were, White did give an indication that he was thinking of playing Steyn at pivot after Lambie was ruled out.
It could depend on how keen he is to see Sithole progress further at outside centre, while it will also be interesting to see if he is going to return Lwazi Mvovo to the wing for a match on the Highveld against a team that revolves it's approach much more around a kicking game than the Waratahs do.
“Once Jordaan returns and strengthens our options at centre we can possibly look at Frans at flyhalf again,” was what White said at the time.
The Sharks have Heimar Williams also available to play centre, in addition to Jordaan and Sithole, so at least the return of Jordaan to fitness gives them options ahead of an eight week sequence of matches that White believes could make or break his team’s challenge for the Super Rugby title. According to White, the bye that the Sharks have just enjoyed came at the right time.
“The most important aspect was the mental break it gave us,” said White.
“The tournament takes its toll and more so when you see what is coming. We have eight weeks before our next break. Mentally, it was a good break for us and we all knew that mentally we had to take some time out because we’re going to be under pressure for the next two months.
“It was nice to have byes early on which we were lucky enough to get. It suited us because we had so many Springboks and thus suited our management of our player resources (coming in from the preparation phase to the season). We lost quite a few Springboks to the end of year tour, so it helped us to have the bye early. But now the hard yards start. We have eight weeks in a row.”
White has taken note of the defeat a tired looking DHL Stormers team suffered at the hands of the Waratahs after their return from tour this past weekend.
“We saw what happened to the Stormers coming back from tour, and we have to come back and play the Stormers in our last weekend (before the June international window) straight off our tour. And we know they’re a good side,” he said.
“We were in a great position going into the bye week. Even though we weren’t playing, we knew we would retain our position at the top of the log. But I’ve said it a number of times, it is not where you are on the log during the season that counts, what counts is where you finish on the log. Our destiny is in our hands. We have eight weeks ahead of us and in those eight weeks we can really stake a claim for the title. That was why it was good to get away and refocus on what is coming.”