Vodacom Super 14

Selection headache for Sharks

2010-02-09 22:36
John Plumtree (Gallo Images)
Christo Buchner

Johannesburg – Sharks coach John Plumtree has a selection poser ahead of Saturday’s Super 14 opener against the Chiefs at the Absa Stadium.

Topping the agenda is the uncertainty surrounding No 8 Willem Alberts.

The tug-of-war between the Sharks and Lions about the services of Alberts and injured fullback Louis Ludik will come to a head on Wednesday when the players and their new employer appear in front of a South African Rugby Union (SARU) disciplinary committee under the chairmanship of Koos Basson.

This follows a complaint by the Lions after Alberts played for the Sharks in a pre-season match and Ludik trained with them.

Sharks chief executive Brian van Zyl conceded on Tuesday that the team will only be picked once there is certainty about Alberts and Ludik’s futures.

If the dispute drags on and is not resolved before Saturday, Alberts will not be picked.

Plumtree would like to use him from the outset, especially as counter for the Chiefs’ powerful ball-carrier Sione Lauaki.

He can always fall back on Springbok No 8 Ryan Kankowski, but the plan is apparently to use him as an impact player.

The Sharks are also still sweating about the fitness of Bok centre Adrian Jacobs, who is struggling with a shoulder injury.

With Ruan Pienaar (knee) still not fit, the flyhalf position will be filled by either Monty Dumond or Steve Meyer.

Meyer, 25-year-old former head boy of Kearsney College, played his rugby at French club Perpignan in recent years before joining the Sharks. He is the favourite for the No 10 jersey.

“Steve is looking hungry for game time and made an impression in training. He has very good hands and varies his game well,” said Sharks backline coach Hugh Reece-Edwards.

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