Stormers hit by injuries

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iol spt may4 Stormers Gallo Images The Stormers hardly looked like a bottom-of -the-log team in their bonus point victory over the Highlanders. Photo by Carl Fourie/Gallo Images

Cape Town - To their dismay, the Stormers on Monday found out that their victory over the Highlanders has come at a high price.

The players post-match medicals indicated that at least five players from the 23-man match squad which secured a shock bonus-point win over the Highlanders would not be available to play against the Bulls at Lofus next week.

Those injured included Captain Jean de Villiers, prop Steven Kitshoff, scrumhalf Louis Schreuder, lock Jurie van Vuuren and wing Kobus van Wyk.

Michael Rhodes and prop Frans Malherbe, will undergo fitness tests later this week, before they can be considered for selection.

Other players on the injury list included centre Michael van der Spuy, wing Devon Williams and flyhalf Gary van Aswegen.

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee was a worried man during Monday afternoon's media briefing.

“We have been decimated by injuries and we've had to pay a high price for our win at Newlands on Saturday,” Coetzee said.

“At this stage of the season, you would think we would have some relief from injuries but we've got a whole lot more.

“Now our preparation is about making sure the injury replacements know what is expected of them.”

Coetzee said the medical report had read like a horror movie script when he first set eyes on it on Monday morning.

“Kitshoff damaged knee ligaments and we're looking at a long-term injury here.

“Schreuder has a fractured thumb and that looks like he'll be out for three months. He underwent an operation today (Monday). Van Vuuren suffered a repeat shoulder injury and he'll be out for two months.

“De Villiers is nursing a shoulder knock and he could be sidelined for two weeks.”

Malherbe, who won the Match-of-the-Match award after scoring two tries last Saturday, will undergo concussion tests after taking a knock to his head and Rhodes had bruises which will need time to mend.

Coetzee said he was pleased to see prop Pat Cilliers and rookie lock Jean Kleyn report for training on Monday.

“Cilliers and Kleyn looked fine at training and both should be up for selection against the Bulls.

“We also had locks Eben Etzebeth and Manuel Carizza joining training for the field session and looks like they could be back in three weeks time.

“Another lock Gerbrand Grobler is also on his way back and could return to action in a fortnight.”

The spate of injuries has thwarted the plan for the Stormers to build on the momentum from a rare bonus-point win and instead the emphasis will be to ensure that the incoming players fit seamlessly to line-up against the Bulls.

“In scenarios like this, our job has always been to make sure that the guys coming in will perform at their best by making sure they understand what's expected of them.

“The players relish the step up and they need to pitch up with the same intensity that we showed against the Highlanders.

“These are all healthy players coming in and overall we'll have a good team to run out at Loftus.”

Sapa



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