Pienaar ‘touch and go’

Ruan Pienaar is the only Sharks player in doubt for their Super 14 opener against the Chiefs at Kings Park.

With Argentine international Juan Martin Hernandez already ruled out of the entire tournament, coach John Plumtree will be hoping the Springbok utility back is available for the 13 February match after recovering from knee surgery. Pienaar was set to return to his favoured scrumhalf position for the tournament, but Hernandez’s back injury has forced Plumtree’s hand.

The ailment has hampered Pienaar for the past three years and after the end of the Boks’ year-end tour was the best possible time to get it repaired.

‘It is a wear-and-tear problem and it will be touch-and-go for me to make the first game,’ Pienaar told The Mercury.

If he is unfit to face last year’s finalists, Monty Dumond – who was not long ago on loan at the Cheetahs – is set to start.

Others that have minor niggles but are expected to be fit include Johann Muller (hamstring), JP Pietersen (back), Waylon Murray (his knee injury from last year continues to flare up), Deon Carstens (recovering from knee surgery), and Riaan Swanepoel (shoulder).