Former Chiefs player Sailosi Tagicakibau is set to shore up the Stormers’ wing resources on their upcoming Super Rugby tour of New Zealand and Australia.
A 31-year-old Samoan international who has played 24 Tests (21 for Samoa and three for the Pacific Islanders) and represented his country at three Rugby World Cups (2003, 2007 and 2011), Tagicakibau will add much-needed experience and size to the injury-hit Stormers backline.
Juan de Jongh and Cheslin Kolbe are unlikely to join the Cape side on their departure for their four-match “tour of hell” on Sunday, where they will take on seven-times champions Crusaders, double defending cham-pions the Chiefs, last year’s losing finalists the Brumbies and 2011 champions the Reds.
The Stormers resorted to picking two specialist centres, Damian de Allende and Kobus van Wyk, on the wings in the 34-10 defeat to the Lions at Ellis Park last week following the departures of Bryan Habana, Gerhard van den Heever and Joe Pietersen overseas in the off-season.
But coach Allister Coetzee changed things around for tomorrow night’s clash against the Hurricanes at Newlands, with De Allende moving to inside centre and Gio Aplon shifting to left wing, as Jaco Taute returns from injury at fullback.
Taute, though, is still working his way back into rugby after sitting out for nine months with a serious knee injury, so the Stormers have been searching far and wide for an additional wing to come into the squad.
And the Cape Times understands that they will soon unveil Tagicakibau, who is 1.93m tall and weighs 100kg, as their new wing signing.
He is currently playing for London Irish in the English Premiership, where he has built up a formidable reputation since joining the club in the 2005/06 season.
He had first made his name as a left wing at Taranaki and the Waikato Chiefs in New Zealand, playing eight Super 12 games for the Hamilton-based side in 2005.
Tagicakibau has a younger brother Michael, who is also a wing and has played for the Chiefs before and currently plays for Saracens in England.
Star flyhalf Peter Grant will further boost the Stormers on tour. Grant is still playing for his Japanese club Kobe Kobelco Steelers, who are involved in the playoffs of the All Japan National Championship.
They play in a semi-final this weekend, and if Kobe lose, Grant could join the Stormers in time for next week’s first tour match against the Crusaders in Christchurch. - Cape Times