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Plumtree reveals new plan for young gun Hooker

SPOTLIGHT: Sharks head coach John Plumtree said he is eager to test Ethan Hooker at outside centre at some stage during Saturday’s United Rugby Championship Round 13 clash against Edinburgh.

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The 21-year-old produced a man-of-the-match performance at inside centre in his side’s 22-12 win over Ulster in Durban last weekend.

That’s why it was a surprise when Plumtree dropped the young gun to the bench for Saturday’s match against Edinburgh with Francois Venter getting the No.12 jersey.

“We were really impressed with what he [Hooker] did last week,” said Plumtree.

“It was a man-of-the-match performance. We are really excited about him.

“He is a lovely boy and it sort of feels like his arrival on this stage.

“I am looking to see if he can cover No.13 as well in case we have issues with Lukhanyo [Am}, so he will possibly get some time at No.13 [against Edinburgh].”

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Meanwhile, Plumtree has provided an update on Springbok scrumhalf Grant Williams who has been on the injury list for the last few weeks.

“Grant had a back injury and he has had it for three weeks now,” said Plumtree.

“However, the good news is that he is fine. He could have been available for us this week, but he didn’t train on Tuesday with the team.

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“We have a policy that if you don’t train Monday or Tuesday then you are not available for selection for Saturday, so he didn’t quite make it but I am pretty sure he will be there next week [for the Challenge Cup Round of 16 clash with Zebre].”

Plumtree will face a juggling act once again when Williams returns to the matchday squad as he has another Bok scrumhalf in the form of Jaden Hendrikse.

“It’s important that they both get enough time so that they can play themselves into some form,” said Plumtree.

“Grant has been injured and on Springbok resting protocol as well, so he hasn’t played for a while. It’s important that when he comes back, we give him some time [to regain his form].

“I thought Jaden played one of his best games last week, so it’s good to see him in some nice form now. It will be up to us to make sure that Grant is up to speed.

“They are different types of halfbacks in different respects and I am more than happy to rotate them.

“However, there is going to come a time when it might be a Final or a big home game where I have a preference.

“It is a selection headache, but it is a nice one to have.”

@rugby365com

Main photo: @URCOfficial_RSA

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