Whilst the news that Bismarck du Plessis is still many months from full fitness after a horror knee injury is perhaps not the big news that some are making it out to be, the fact remains that the Sharks will be tested at hooker during this year’s Super Rugby tournament.
Let’s not beat about the bush. Bissie picked up a terrible knock and we should probably consider ourselves lucky if we get to see him at all in Super Rugby this year. Any hope of a return prior to the season kicking off was always naive and the supposed “bombshell” that he’ll miss the bulk of the campaign certainly isn’t unexpected, not to me at any rate. The problem at the moment lies with the backup…
We’re all still reeling somewhat after the lineout implosion that saw the Sharks capitulate in the Currie Cup final and to say that any of us are confident that wither Craig Burden or Kyle Cooper is ready to be a “ready-made” replacement for Bismarck would probably be stretching the truth. Further complicating the picture, though, is a concerning knock picked up by Burden during practice last week, coupled with an MCL strain suffered by third-choice rake, Monde Hadebe. Burden, at this stage, looks like he’ll be ok to play, but Hadebe is going to miss the first few games.
So bad was the concern, in fact, that Baby Bok hooker Franco Marais found himself yanked form the UKZN Impi squad for the season to provide cover. With Burden not suffering any lingering effects and Hadebe’s injury not too serious, it’s more likely that Marais will play Vodacom Cup, but should something happen to Kyle Cooper over the next few weeks, don’t be too surprised if the man from Transvalia Hoër ends up being a surprise inclusion on the Super Rugby bench.Tweet