Sharks sweating on Springbok star Eben Etzebeth after injury against Edinburgh

Sharks sweating on Springbok star Eben Etzebeth after injury against Edinburgh

Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth is a major injury concern for the Sharks after he was forced off the field during their 23-13 triumph over Edinburgh on Saturday.

Etzebeth played the entire first half of the United Rugby Championship (URC) match at Kings Park but did not emerge after the half-time break after requiring treatment for a rib injury.

Although Sharks head coach John Plumtree is unsure of the extent of Etzebeth˜s injury, he is resigned to losing the services of South Africa's player of the year for Saturday's Challenge Cup round-of-16 encounter against Zebre Parma in Durban.

"We're not quite sure yet how serious the injury is. It's quite sore," he told Sport24.

"If it's just some cartilage, as we're hoping, that would keep him out for around two to three weeks. But there's still some time to do tests and determine what exactly is wrong."

Apart from Etzebeth's injury, the Sharks also took to the field against Edinburgh without fellow Springbok Vincent Koch, who was set to make his first start for the team, but he was a late withdrawal after contracting a nasty stomach bug on the day of the URC encounter.

Plumtree revealed that several other members of his squad had suffered a similar fate recently with Emile van Heerden, who packed down alongside Etzebeth, also succumbing to it during the Edinburgh clash.

However, despite all the disruptions the Sharks remained focused and managed to clinch their second successive victory.

"There was a lot going on in that game and the boys handled it really well," said Plumtree.

"Vincent Koch pulling out after sending an early text and losing Eben at half-time [was tough]. We've had a tummy bug going through the squad and Emile came down with [it] during the game. He was throwing up at half-time and it spread us a bit thin in terms of resources.

"Vincent Tshituka hurt his knee a bit, but he carried on for the full 80 minutes, so I'm hoping that's an indication that it's not too serious. I'm proud.

"The boys didn't panic and adjusted to what was going on."

Although the Sharks did well to clinch only their third victory of the season, Plumtree believes there is still plenty of room for improvement.

"We were playing okay. We just didn't finish. We were held up a few times and the passes didn't always stick," he said.

"The good thing is that it's something we can still work and improve on.

"I'm really pleased that we didn't get frustrated after half-time after we dominated territory and possession. We started well after the turnaround and built pressure again and ripping into their work.

"It was a difficult game, there was a lot going on out there."

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