Cape Town – Jaco Taute will be on the injury list longer than anticipated and is unlikely to return to action ahead of the Stormers' Australasia tour in March.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said at a briefing on Monday that the Springbok fullback would be sitting out for the next two weeks before he was likely to play. He was a spectator at Monday afternoon's training session, following a serious knee injury before the start of the season.
“Jaco has returned after suffering a massive injury and he has to be treated conservatively,” Coetzee said.
“It has now come to light that areas around the knee have flared up after training last week so it is clear he's taking some strain.
Joining Taute on the injury list is lock Jean Kleyn who suffered torn ankle ligaments in a warm-up game against Boland over the weekend.
“Kleyn's injury will require at least six weeks healing and that is another blow to our lock reserves,” said Coetzee.
“ 1/8Another lock 3/8 Ruan Botha has a stiffness in the groin area after the Boland game and we'll wait and see when he's ready to go.
“The good news is that 1/8lock De Kock 3/8 Steenkamp will join training as from 1/8next 3/8 Monday. His rehab has gone really well and he may be in the running for a place on the bench against the Hurricanes (in two weeks' time).
Coetzee said he was very happy with the way loose forwards Ryhard Elstadt and Michael Rhodes had been training at lock but it remained an area of concern.
A new face at training was Kings wing Siviwe 'Shakes' Soyizwapi who has been recruited to stock up reserve strength along the backline in the wake of injuries to Cheslin Kolbe, Juan de Jongh and Taute.
“From what I have seen of 'Shakes' in the last couple of games, he is similar to Cheslin,” said Coetzee.
“He's a good stepper and last season he played at fullback against the Brumbies 1/8at Canberra Stadium 3/8. He is playing on the wing nowadays but also offers an option as a fullback.
With 'Shakes' in the squad there would be some relief while De Jongh and Kolbe were recovering, Coetzee said.
“At this stage it looks like Cheslin will be back in mid-March and Juan perhaps a week later when we are on tour.
“We are still looking to recruit and there are talks in progress but we need to be sure that we don't sign up 'rejects' that are not wanted elsewhere.”
He said the squad they would pick for the Lions match would be the best available.
“We won't lose sight of the fact that the match will be on the Highveld and the Lions have a reputation for pulling out all the stops in the final 20 minutes.
“The Lions showed over the weekend that in Super Rugby a team can beat any team. They were great at the breakdowns and their coach has an attacking mindset which worked wonders for the team in last season's Currie Cup competition.” – Sapa