Pienaar out of Force clash

Sharks flyhalf Ruan Pienaar is expected to be out for three weeks due to the knee injury he suffered in the loss to the Reds.

Pienaar limped off after 32 minutes in the 25-13 defeat and coach John Plumtree admitted it could be a lengthy spell on the sidelines for the Bok No 10.

“Ruan will not be available and his medial ligament problem may mean three weeks out, depending on medical opinion,” said Plumtree.

Frans Steyn moved to flyhalf but again he proved indecisive in the pivot position. Plumtree lamented his team’s poor showing and what will compound the problems will be trying to find a suitable replacement for Pienaar.

Plumtree denied the Sharks had underestimated the Reds and said the players weren’t in holiday mode in their stay on the Gold Coast.

“We addressed the attitude we had to have for this game,” said Plumtree.

“We do enjoy the Gold Coast because it replicates home in Durban for us, but that’s not an issue here because the Sharks won well in Brisbane in 2007 [59-16] when staying there,” he said.

“The Reds were slightly more up for the game and it was the best a side has played against us for a good while.

“We just made so many unforced errors. We lost one lineout in three games coming in, yet lost four or five on our throw in this one. We knew it might take 50 or 60 minutes to break them down, but we were chasing the game and stressed by then.”

 The Sharks face the Force in their final tour match and Plumtree said it will be great test to claim a third victory on the road.

“It was a frustrating night for us. We’ve been winning for a long time and the true test of our side’s character will be bouncing back against the Force.”