Johannesburg – Rynhardt Elstadt, a stalwart of the Western Province Currie Cup squad, has been ruled out of action for three weeks, coach Alister Coetzee said on Monday.
The flank picked up an injury against the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein at the weekend and medical tests on Monday showed he had a hairline rib fracture.
His injury came hard on the heels of a season-ending injury to fellow flanker Siya Kolisi and the national team call-up for Duane Vermeulen.
Coetzee said losing one of the squad's few Super Rugby players was a huge setback.
“Elstadt's injury leaves our loose forward department empty. We'll now have to go back and have a really good look for replacements.”
Wing Ederies Arendse, who was expected to return to action against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday, had a shoulder injury which had proved more serious than was first thought.
“The injury to Ederies' shoulder rotator cuff is far worse than anticipated and it will need a long-term lay-off, say at least six weeks.”
It was not all doom-and-gloom, as Coetzee announced that fullback Joe Pietersen and flank Tyrone Holmes returned to training and were ready for selection.
“It's a challenge to decide whether Joe starts off on the bench or in the run-on XV,” said Coetzee. “He's been out of action for three weeks and it's not always fair to expect a player back from injury to slot in straight away.
“As a coach, I like continuity (in team selection) and one is mindful that Gio Aplon has just played one of his best games at fullback against the Cheetahs.”
The former Matie loose forward Tertius Daniller, who suffered a long-term knee injury, was a surprise participant at training on Monday. He was not yet ready for action and would need some time to get used to the team's playing style.
On Monday morning the WP squad reviewed their weekend performance at a video session. Coetzee felt that despite their victory, the side lost its composure at times.
“It was clear that we did not absorb the Cheetahs' pressure at times, and that showed up our inexperience. It's not a train smash because these youngsters are very coachable. They are highly motivated and they all want to play Super Rugby next year.
“We needed to play smart because of their (Cheetahs) excellent defence and it's something that we need to improve on this week against the Sharks. One area where we got to improve in the scrums. We had good and bad scrums.”
With back-to-back wins in successive weeks, WP have turned their fortunes around to head the latest Currie Cup log after languishing in fourth (out of six teams) position three weeks ago. – Sapa