Sharks captain Johann Muller has been called up to join the Springboks Tri-Nations tour party as a replacement for injured WP lock Andries Bekker.
Bekker hurt his shoulder having come on as a subsittute against the Wallabies in Perth last weekend. Muller, who has himself only recently returned to Currie Cup action after breaking his arm earlier in the seasosn, will provide much-needed second row cover in the squad. Although both Bakkies Botha and Danie Rossouw have been named in the match 22 for Saturday’s match in Brisbane, it is understood that the pair are carrying a variety of niggles and either could still be ruled out. Should this happen, Muller might find himself thrust straight into the match squad.
Muller’s call-up further weakens a Sharks tight five struggling without the services of four Bok front-rankers. To add to the woes, promising tighthead prop Wiehahn Herbst has been ruled out for four months after dislocating his ankle at the weekend. Albert van den Berg will no doubt come into the starting lineup for Muller, with Stefan Terblanche reclaiming the captain’s armband from Muller.
Justin Downey and Dale Chadwick should join the squad for this week’s trip to Boland, but it will be the crunch match against the Bulls, at Loftus on September 12, that will be keeping John Plumtree awake at night. Having lost to Province at home, that match now represents a must-win if the Sharks are to secure a top-two finish, but, as anyone will tell you, trying to win at Loftus with a weakened tight five is nothing but a fool’s errand.Tweet