It appears as though Riaan Swanepoel is once again in doubt, having picked up an ankle injury against the Lions.
Sharks coach John Plumtree doesn’t seem too concerned about the injury and will give the big inside centre until Thursday to recover, but it does strike me as somewhat concerning that Swanepoel seems very injury-prone at the moment. I don’t have all the info to hand, but it feels as though this is the third or fourth time this season that he has picked up an injury and been in doubt prior to a game.
Could this be symptomatic of some other problem, perhaps? Swannie gets through a massive mount of work every week and it’s not really surprising that the knocks take their toll, but I’ve heard the theory expounded once or twice that he might just be carrying a little too much bulk at the moment. That could go some way to explaining the high incidence of knee and ankle problems he seems to pick up. Swannie’s official weight on SA Rugby is around 97kg, but looking at the way he’s built these days, I’d be quite surprised if he isn’t playing at 100 or more right now.
Maybe the Sharks coaching and conditioning team need to take another look at this situation and see if they can get Swannie to shed a few kilos. I reckon it would do his game the world of good and hopefully extend his career in the process.
That’s not to say that I’m not crossing fingers, holding thumbs and praying furiously that he’ll be passed fit to play the Blues this weekend. Andries Strauss would be the logical replacement at 12 should Swanepoel be ruled out.
Other players carrying knocks after a bruising forward encounter in Joburg are loose forwards Jean Deysel and Willem Alberts, but neither is expected to miss the Blues match. Mike Rhodes has been placed on standby and will move up from the Vodacom Cup squad if required.Tweet