Adi Jacobs is likely to be out for the rest of the Super 14 with a dislocated shoulder.
The Sharks and Springbok centre has had shoulder problems for an extended period, and he left the field during the Sharks’ victory over the Hurricanes on Saturday.
Sharks coach John Plumtree said Jacobs is set for a lengthy lay-off.
‘Yeah, we’ve lost Adi Jacobs now and he was one of our major threats probably for the Super 14, so what we do in the midfield is going to be interesting from here on,’ said Plumtree.
Waylon Murray is set to start in Jacobs’ place, a move that shouldn’t rob the Sharks of any potency in the midfield.
The Sharks defended for the large majority of the second half in their win over the Canes, but held out to claim their second successive win of the season.
‘With 30 minutes to go most people would have thought we weren’t going to win that game, but the boys just hung in,’ said Plumtree. ‘We suffered a little in attack with Adi going off and we just had to find a way really.’
JP Pietersen’s try with 25 minutes remaining was vital in the match, as the Sharks broke from deep to give themselves an 11-point buffer. The Canes later drew the scores level, but Ruan Pienaar’s long range penalty sealed the result.
‘That try gave the boys a bit more belief and then it was a case of hanging in because it was always going to go down to the wire,’ Plumtree said of Pietersen’s score. ‘We scrambled well because they were creating line break after line break and it was just one of those games where possibly the better attacking team on the night didn’t win.’
Reflecting on his side’s tough five-match tour, which earlier led to three losses in a row, Plumtree said he was happy with the eventual outcome.
‘There’s been a lot pressure on us and it hasn’t been easy, it’s been bloody tough in fact,’ said Plumtree. ‘If you looked back a few weeks ago and said we’d get 10 points out of this tour most people probably wouldn’t have taken a bet on that.’
Although the side have slowly crept up the log, a play-off place is still unlikely given their poor start to the season that saw five losses in a row.
‘We have to keep winning,’ said Plumtree. ‘We can’t afford to lose two in a row or we’re dead, so there’s still a lot of pressure on us.’