Although the rugby gods would appear to be smiling on John Plumtree in some ways, when it comes to the front row, he must be wondering what he’s done to make them so angry. The Sharks look to have lost yet another prop to a potentially serious injury.
Pat Cilliers appears to have re-injured the same knee that kept him out of the game for over a year. Details are sketchy at this stage, but early indications are that the young former Michaelhouse prop will be out for at least two weeks. It’s starting to look like the number 3 jersey for the Sharks might just be cursed – its former occupant, Wiehahn Herbst, broke his ankle the week before.
Ameliorating the problem to a certain extent, Melusi Mthethwa has finally made his way back into the squad and came on for Cilliers against Boland last week. He is, however, a natural loosehead, meaning that the Sharks will have no option but to hand veteran Deon Carstens the tighthead jersey. Carstens started his career at three, but struggled in the position at test level and reinvented himself as a loosehead almost 5 years ago. Although still a capable option at Currie Cup level, it’s by no means an ideal situation having to play him there.
Young Julian Redelinghuys, the under 21 tighthead, will probably come onto the bench this week, which in itself is a blow to the junior side who, having fought their way to the top of the log, will now find their superb tight five disrupted in the run-up to a crucial clash with the second-placed Bulls.
Plumtree will see the light at the end of the tunnel, though, as John Smit, Jannie du Plessis and Beast Mtawarira should all be available to him on their return from Tri-Nations duty next week.Tweet