Durban: One of the hallmarks of Jake White’s long and distinguished coaching career is that he has always seen the glass as half full, never half empty, and on Monday the Sharks coach had a characteristic positive spin for the loss of yet another flyhalf to injury.
“The All Blacks won the World Cup final with their fourth-choice flyhalf, and we have now had four different flyhalves starting this season, so let’s see that as a positive omen!” White said before adding that he had not made up his mind about who will start in the vital position against the Cheetahs at Kings Park on Saturday.
Fred Zeilinga (h amstring) has joined Patrick Lambie (bicep) on the casualty list and White must decide whether to go with Frans Steyn at 10 (he started against the Lions in the first round) or youngster Tim Swiel, who started in the position against Saracens in a warm-up game in London.
“We’re not making a big issue of it (the injuries at flyhalf) – it is the nature of this competition that you lose players all the time and you just have to adapt,” White said.
“I’ve said to the players that we can just control what we can control. We unfortunately have guys with bangs and bruises and hamstring pulls, but those are the ‘uncontrollables’ of Super Rugby.”
Veteran wing Odwa Ndungane injured a shoulder muscle in the win against the Lions and is in doubt for the Cheetahs game, but there is depth at wing and it is the No 10 jersey that is the major concern for the coach.
“I haven’t made a decision yet,” White said. “There are a couple of options. Tim Swiel could slot straight in at 10. He’s done really well in the Vodacom Cup with the unbeaten Sharks XV. Frans can obviously play at 10 – he did a good job moving there when Fred got injured against the Lions.
“It’s a choice we have to make. Tim will get some gametime this week, but we will have to see whether he starts or plays off the bench.” - Cape Times