Just gloom for Stormers

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iol spt mar25 Tiaan Liebenberg Independent Newspapers When it comes to the Stormers at the moment, there doesnt seem to be much sunshine. Photo by: Matthew Jordaan

It was rather appropriate that Cape Town woke up to gloomy grey skies yesterday – because when it comes to the Stormers at the moment, there doesn’t seem to be much sunshine.

After losing Schalk Burger at the weekend for three weeks because of a torn quad muscle, Tiaan Liebenberg joined Burger yesterday on the lengthy injury list and Ruan Botha might be out of Saturday’s game against the Reds as well. Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said from Brisbane yesterday that Liebenberg has a chronic neck problem that will be assessed by a specialist.

His absence will see Deon Fourie revert to being a hooker from the loose trio. That will result in the in-form Nizaam Carr getting a well-deserved start against the Reds.

“There’s a bit of a nerve impingement in the neck, so the specialist will advise once he’s seen him. Tiaan will be out for a minimum of three weeks, and we’ll wait for what comes out of the specialist’s investigation into the injury,” said Coetzee.

“Ruan Botha is 50/50 at this point. He’s got an ankle injury on the same one he was operated on last year. So we are waiting to see how it will settle down later in the week. Tazz Fuzani and Sikhumbuzo Notshe will be flying over to replace Schalk Burger and Tiaan in the squad. So Deon Fourie will be at hooker this weekend and we have Stephan Coetzee as back-up here.”

“There are two things we are dealing with – there is chronic stuff, like Rynhardt, who re-injured his shoulder after he had an operation last year after the Currie Cup. De Kock had a conservative approach with his groin, and he’s broken down again,” he said.

“We’ve had traumatic injuries which you cannot really help – a rib injury to Pat Cilliers, Scarra tore a calf muscle, Frans Malherbe had a fractured small toe, and the normal AC joint injuries. If it had been a lot of soft-tissue injuries, I would’ve been worried and questioned the conditioning – the way we train – but it’s definitely not that.”

At least the Stormers won’t need to look for another hooker as Scarra Ntubeni is making good progress with his calf injury, and he could be back for next week’s date with the Waratahs at Newlands. Cheslin Kolbe could also be back for that game, although he is more likely to return after the bye in a fortnight’s time.

On the plus side, fullback Jaco Taute is over the worst of his shoulder injury and will be considered for the Reds game, while Siya Kolisi’s shoulder has responded to treatment, paving the way for him to line up alongside Duane Vermeulen and Carr in the loose trio on Saturday.

Carr’s speed across the ground and his ability to link up with the backs on attack could add a refreshing dimension to the side’s game. The loose trio has the grunt and tackling ability, but probably lacks that finesse that Carr can bring. - Pretoria News



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