The Stormers could face yet another problem at lock after Rynhardt Elstadt had to go off in the weekend’s friendly against the Southern Kings.
Elstadt has been earmarked to wear the No 4 jersey in the Stormers’ Super Rugby opener against the Lions on February 22 due to Eben Etzebeth’s long-term knee injury, but is now unlikely to feature in Saturday’s final warm-up against Boland in Wellington.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee told the Cape Times last night that while he wasn’t too concerned with the injury, Elstadt had to leave the field at halftime with a knock to his rib cartilage, an injury which could rule a player out for three to four weeks.
“Rynhardt is not a concern, he took a knock to the muscle in between the ribs (cartilage), and it’s just a bit bruised there. But there’s no fracture at all. I’m waiting for the scans to come back, so we will see tomorrow,” Coetzee said.
What exacerbates the situation is the fact that Argentine lock Manuel Carizza didn’t have the best of starts to his Stormers career in PE. “Unfortunately we were a bit scratchy in the lineouts. It was Manuel’s first game with us, having to call the lineouts, and there’s still room for improvement obviously,” Coetzee said.
Michael Rhodes could fill the No 4 jersey, but he doesn’t have Elstadt’s physicality or lineout-contesting ability. Duane Vermeulen, who was also down to play, was withdrawn due to a bruised heel, but Coetzee said the Springbok star will be training next week.
It is hoped that De Kock Steenkamp will return either for the second game against the Hurricanes or the tour.
The best news to come out of the Kings game was the performance of Jaco Taute. “Jaco went through it very well, and will go into the next game with much more confidence. He played flat-out for 30 minutes, which was the time he was supposed to play,” Coetzee said.
The coach also expressed his confidence in Kobus van Wyk being ready to start alongside Taute and Gio Aplon (who got married at the weekend) against the Lions on February 22.
“Kobus has really excelled. Without a doubt (he can start against the Lions). He’s really looked good. Still a lot to learn, but potentially he can make it there, I have no doubt he can play at that level.”
Super Rugby fixtures:
(All SA times)
Saturday, February 15
Bloemfontein: Cheetahs v Lions (5.05pm), Durban: Sharks v Bulls (7.10pm).
Friday, February 21
Christchurch: Crusaders v Chiefs (8.35am), Bloemfontein: Cheetahs v Bulls (7.10pm).
Saturday, February 22
Dunedin: Highlanders v Blues (8.35am), Canberra: Brumbies v Reds (10.40am), Durban: Sharks v Hurricanes (5.05pm), Johannesburg: Lions v Stormers (7.10pm).
Sunday, February 23
Sydney: Waratahs v Force (7.05am). - Cape Times