THE Stormers’ Super 15 campaign will by no means be torn asunder by a loss in Perth on Saturday, but a reverse against the lowly Force will raise real concerns that their title-aspirations have been compromised by injuries.
Bishops old boy Nizaam Carr will make his starting debut in a significantly depleted loose trio combination with Siya Kolisi and Rynhardt Elstadt, while Western Province’s Don Armand provides cover from the bench.
Missing are 68-Test Springbok Schalk Burger, 72-match Super Rugby veteran Duane Vermeulen and No 8 Nick Koster.
The severity of Koster’s injury is unknown, but Burger isn’t due back before July, and Vermeulen has been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign.
In the four weeks leading up to the mid-season Test window, the Stormers host the Cheetahs and Waratahs before travelling to Durban and Pretoria for tough engagements with the Sharks and Bulls respectively.
Carr will have to dig deep to match flair with physicality, Elstadt must prove he’s savvy enough for extended loose trio duty, and rookie Armand will have to adapt quickly if the Stormers are to retain their defensive integrity, beat the Force and restore faith in their ability to challenge for the title. – Cape Argus