Midfield dilemma for Sharks

JP Pietersen is set to miss the remainder of the Super Rugby season.

Pietersen left the field of play in the Sharks’ victory over the Force, their final tour game. Pietersen’s scans revealed that the winger, who did duty at outside centre, will require surgery to rectify a groin injury.

Pietersen was playing in the 13 jersey following a serious injury to Paul Jordaan and Tim Whitehead not taking part in rugby this season to date. Pietersen’s injury is a big loss for the Sharks, yet the bigger problem is which player will wear the 13 jersey this weekend against the Bulls.

The Bulls midfield combination of Jan Serfontein and JJ Engelbrecht has been in good form this season, getting over the advantage line and solid on defence as well. The Sharks are already without Pietersen in the opposition midfield, and might even be without Meyer Bosman, who broke his nose in the same match.

Bosman might yet be cleared to play, even though the Sharks can call upon Butch James this week, who might be ideal at inside centre. The problem remains with the outside centre jersey, which might fall to on loan Piet Lindeque. Lindeque is a centre by trade even though he has only been employed in the wing. With Marius Joubert also out of action due to a broken hand, the other, more audacious options include playing Tyler Fisher or Heimar Williams, both of which are yet to see Currie Cup action, never mind playing Super Rugby.

In a bit of good news from the Sharks, it seems that Bismarck du Plessis will be available for selection this week. His participation in the Bulls match is yet to be decided, for obvious reasons. Du Plessis could well use the four week break following the Bulls match to fully recover and return for the final weeks of action. With the Sharks season already finished, it would be pointless risking him in the match this weekend.

By Richard Ferguson