Johannesburg – Stormers' captain Schalk Burger and Juan de Jongh have both been ruled out of Saturday's final Super Rugby warm-up match against the Boland Cavaliers at the Cape Town Stadium.
Loose forward Burger missed the weekend's friendly against the Cheetahs as a result of calf tightness, but it has since transpired that he has strained a muscle and could find himself on the sidelines for the next fortnight.
Centre De Jongh picked up a hamstring strain against the Cheetahs, and he too will be out of action for two weeks.
The injuries will rule both players out of the running for the Stormers' opening Super Rugby fixture against the Bulls at Loftus on Friday, February 22.
Other injury news is that lock Michael Rhodes, the Lions' recruit, will be out for at least a week after sustaining an injury while warming up for the Cheetahs' match.
Stormers' coach Allister Coetzee again emphasised that players who did not participate in any of the warm-ups matches would not be considered for the Bulls' clash.
The two exceptions would be flyhalves Elton Jantjies and Peter Grant.
Jantjies will return to the Stormers camp on Sunday, after he was granted leave because of a family bereavement.
Grant is still away in Japan. His return is imminent and depends on how far his club advances in a domestic competition there.
Backliners Gio Aplon and Jaco Taute are both down with flu, but they are in the running for places in the team to face Boland.
“First Jaco was down with flu and later Gio,” said Coetzee.
“I think there is a bug going round, and it has also affected players' stomachs. Both should be okay by the weekend.”
In the absence of De Jongh, the starting midfield pairing will probably be Jean de Villiers and Damian de Allende.
Coetzee said that on reflection, he was disappointed with his side's workrate against the Cheetahs.
“It was not where it should be and he was looking to see a higher workrate. This week we need to pick it up quite a bit before we even think about the Bulls match.
“I sensed that there was a rustiness and that led to a high penalty count, which also explains our poor discipline. All these factors are coupled.
“Saturday's match against Boland may not be as intense (as Super Rugby), but Boland will give us a good run. It's not about winning this week, but rather about making the most of the match situations and testing our plays.
“Boland will be fired up as they always are when they play the Stormers and that's what we will be looking for on Saturday – a keen, competitive encounter.” – Sapa