Johannesburg – They may just want to keep the Jaguares guessing for as long as possible, but the Sharks appear confident that Dan du Preez will be ready to play what has effectively become a playoff eliminator at Kings Park on Saturday.
No 8 Du Preez left the field on a stretcher during the loss to the Stormers in Cape Town last weekend, according to SuperSport.com.
It didn’t look good and his father Robert, the Sharks coach, was with him when he underwent scans on the injury immediately after the game.
However, the good news to emerge from the medical assessment was that there was no serious neck injury, as was feared, just a pinched nerve.
That means that although there will be a race against time for Du Preez to be ready, there is a chance he will line up against the South American team.
Sharks fullback Curwin Bosch went as far as to suggest that the Sharks are anticipating that he will start.
“Losing Dan would be a big loss, but we think he will be ready this weekend,” said Bosch.
The Sharks will definitely be without Dan’s twin brother, Jean-Luc, who suffered an MCL sprain against the Lions the week before the Newlands game.
The prognosis was that Du Preez would be out for two weeks, which means that he should be back for the quarter- final, should the Sharks make it by beating the Jaguares on Saturday, and have the Highlanders beat the Rebels in Dunedin.
As was shown against the Stormers, flank Du Preez is missed when he isn’t present, but Bosch rightly reckons there is plenty of faith within the Sharks camp in the abilities of his replacement, Jacques Vermeulen.
“Jean-Luc is of course a big loss because he’s an excellent player who brings presence, but Jacques stands in very well. He has his own set of skills and strengths and there is a lot of respect for him,” said the fullback.
Springbok wing S’bu Nkosi was also injured in the Newlands game and was undergoing scans to his ankle afterwards. He is also understood to be ‘touch and go’ for Saturday’s game.
The Sharks team will be announced on Thursday.