I need to correct something I wrote yesterday. Alistair Hargreaves is not replacing Wilhelm Steenkamp in the Sharks touring party. Rather, he is taking up the vacant 26th spot which was being reserved for Louis Ludik.
A report on Keo this morning quotes Hugh Reece-Edwards as saying that Ludik will go back into rehabilitation – this after reporting swelling in the knee he injured 8 months ago. The exciting fullback tore ligaments against the British and Irish Lions last year and the Sharks realised when taking him on that he may still spend a lengthy period on the sidelines. Ludik has taken the field for the Sharks XV for the last two weeks but the decision has now been made to pull him from further match action for the foreseeable future.
My understanding is that the 26th place in the tour party was intended for Ludik and that the intention was for him to prove his fitness in the Vodacom Cup before flying over. That dream has now been dashed – hence the decision to send Hargreaves instead. The lock forward should have been in the tour party all along, of course, making his call-up long overdue.
A bit of reshuffling in the Sharks XV ranks is now inevitable, of course. Chris Jordaan and Jandre Marais should come into the starting lineup for Ludik and Hargreaves respectively, with Meyer Swanepoel and possibly Rosco Speckman coming onto the bench. Luvo Lusaseni is a further injury concern and should he not recover in time to face Free State, Lambert Groenewald will probably come into the 15. Sean Everitt has pretty big pool of loose forward replacements to choose from, with Skollie Ndlovu or Renaldo Bothma the most likely candidates for a spot in the 22.Tweet