Butch back middle of March

Butch James will miss at least the first three games of the Sharks’ Super 14 campaign.

There has been confusion over the comeback date of the former Bok flyhalf, but speaking to keo.co.za, James has clarified the situation.

“Recovery is going well,” James said. “Unfortunately though I won’t be fit for the start of the competition. I’m aiming to be back by the end of February but I think it’s more realistic that I’ll be available for selection halfway through the team’s away leg.”

It means James will miss the Sharks’ opening two fixtures at the Absa Stadium, against the Chiefs and Cheetahs, and probably the two daunting away clashes with the Crusaders and Waratahs.

A return against the Brumbies on March 11 seems the most likely scenario.

“There’s been a bit of confusion about when I’ll be fit. The problem has been my other leg has been playing up a bit now because of compensating for the other one. It’s frustrating but I will ensure I’m 100% before attempting to play again.”

James’ extended absence through injury and Tony Brown’s through club commitments in Japan means Percy Montgomery seems destined to wear 10 for at least the first month of the competition.