Sharks call on warhorse

Dick Muir has sent an SOS to veteran lock Johan Ackermann after a tour-ending injury to Steven Sykes.

Sykes damaged ankle ligaments in their defeat to the Brumbies on Saturday and is likely to play no further role in the Sharks’ campaign.

Muir’s call to Ackermann will see the 37-year-old make his second comeback after retirement. Muir convinced him to help the Sharks out for the first three rounds of the tournament, after which Ackermann moved to Cape Town to take up the position of marketing manager for petroleum company Kepu.

The big second rower has been playing club rugby for Hamiltons, which Muir said was beneficial. The Mercury’s Mike Greenaway reports that Muir said Ackermann would not be considered for selection for this weekend’s clash with the Waratahs in Sydney but would definitely play against the Crusaders in Christchurch next week.

The Sharks’ coaching staff will decide between Albert van den Berg or AJ Venter at lock. Meanwhile, flank Keegan Daniel sat out of Tuesday’s training session after a lower back injury which sustained in the early rounds of the the tournament played up again. Jean Deysel will replace him should he fail to recover in time.

Brad Barritt looks unlikely to shake off a shoulder injury, which will see Frans Steyn play at inside centre – the fourth position he’s played since the start of the tournament.