Gary Gold says flyhalf Joe Pietersen has proven that there is ‘no substitute for experience’, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
The Sharks suffered a hefty pre-season blow when first-choice flyhalf Pat Lambie sustained a serious shoulder injury against Toulon, forcing Gold to reconsider carefully made pre-season plans.
Although Garth April impressed at No 10 in the Sharks’ second warm-up match against Toulouse, Gold ultimately opted to start Pietersen at flyhalf for the Durban-based team’s first three games of Super Rugby.
That decision has ultimately been vindicated, with Pietersen controlling proceedings well from the flyhalf channel at the start of the campaign, while he impressively finished off the match-winning try against the Stormers on Saturday.
Afterwards, the Sharks director of rugby said that while April would receive his opportunity down the line, he reiterated that Pietersen was doing a fine job in Lambie’s absence.
‘I suppose it comes down to the fact there is no real substitute for experience. Joe has a cool, calm head and he runs the show nicely. I still think that he is a more formidable fullback than he is a 10, but he’s also very comfortable at flyhalf. That’s the nice thing, you want to see that players have confidence to do the job, and that’s what Joe has.
‘He’s very calm and relaxed, on and off the field, and that helps the guys around him. He’s stepped up nicely, but Garth really does have an exciting future.’
The Sharks will next face the Bulls in Pretoria on Friday, and while they reported no serious injuries from Saturday’s clash at Newlands, loose forward Tera Mtembu sustained a knee injury while playing for the Sharks XV in a Currie Cup warm-up match.
Mtembu, who captained the Sharks in the 2014 Currie Cup, was set to go for scans on Monday to determine the extent of the damage.
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