Two return but injuries plague Sharks

AJ Venter and lock Johan Ackermann are likely to return to the Sharks for Saturday’s vital match against the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs.

Venter was a late withdrawal for the match against the Vodacom Blue Bulls after injuring a bicep muscle, while Ackermann returns from a lengthy lay-off with a calf injury and is likely to replace injured lock Wouter Moore.

Ackermann, capped eight times for the Springboks, will bolster a pack that was comprehensively outplayed against the Bulls and together with Venter will add valuable experience to a youthful Sharks side.

Moore is out for the rest of the year, after undergoing emergency abdominal surgery on Saturday evening following a ferocious tackle from JP Nel.

“It is a very rare injury in rugby,” Dr Craig Roberts, the Sharks’ doctor told the team’s website. “It is something you associate more with car accidents. Wouter was hit exceptionally hard in the tackle and at a vulnerable spot in the abdomen. It is a serious but freak injury.”

The Sharks are still awaiting the results from tests on injured players Bradley Barritt (concussion), Butch James (knee) and BJ Botha (calf) while prop Deon Carstens who is suffering from pneumonia has been confirmed as a non-starter.