Cape Town – Stormers flyhalf Elton Jantjies will miss the franchise's warm-up matches ahead of this year's Super Rugby season after the death of his father Thomas on Saturday.
“It's really sad, a real tragedy for the Jantjies family and we want to support Elton in whatever way we can,” Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said on Monday.
“He has returned to Johannesburg and he must take as much time as he needs to deal with the tragedy. There will not be any pressure on him to return to action.
“He definitely won't play in the two warm-up matches and we'll take it from there.”
The Stormers were still waiting for news of when flyhalf Peter Grant will return. He is playing in Japan and his club had reached the play-offs in domestic competition there.
Another flyhalf Gary van Aswegen was still recovering from a long term injury but he might be back in action sooner than initially anticipated.
“With Gary still out of the picture, we'll have to look at Louis Schreuder and Dewaldt Duvenage as the likely starting number 10s, although I've been impressed with the progress Kurt Coleman has made,” Coetzee said.
He's played Super Rugby for us before and he's done well on occasions.”
The other position which enjoyed a fair amount of Coetzee's attention was that of hooker, and the Lions' number two Martin Bezuidenhout, who has recently been recruited appeared to be settling in well.
“Martin seems to have what we were looking for at the Stormers,” the Stormers coach said.
“He's fitting in well and has a tremendous work rate. He'll stay with us for as long as we need him.”
Regular hookers Scarra Ntubeni and Tiaan Liebenberg were only likely to return in about six weeks' time.
Springboks Jean de Villiers, captain Schalk Burger, Deon Fourie and Siya Kolisi were all nursing minor injuries and sat out at Monday's training.
Coetzee said the focus at this stage was mainly on conditioning and he was pleased with overall fitness in the squad.
“We have had sweltering hot weather at training and that will test the conditioning of the players,” Coetzee said.
“These sweltering conditions will help to show me where the players are in terms of their preparedness for the season.
“At this stage it's good that the players are taking contact at training and I'm pleased to see the energy when we're working out.”
The Stormers are up against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday, and Coetzee said the match would be a good test for his side.
“We have yet to a play a match this season, whereas the Cheetahs has already had one game,” he said.
“We'll be looking to try out our systems and see what can work for us against a side than has already been tested.
“With the warm-up matches we can have meaningful rotation and players can gain confidence in our playing systems.” – Sapa