While the players can now look forward to a new competition and new title hopes, the Stormers’ injury worries have largely filtered into the Western Province’s Currie Cup campaign as well.
WP coach John Dobson yesterday confirmed that their loose forward stocks are a bit thin, while they’ve also seen better days in midfield.
The Stormers were again plagued by injury during their 2019 Super Rugby campaign, and a number of those casualties will affect the Currie Cup side as well ... something that could be a big factor with only six regular-season games to be played in the single-round competition.
“The injuries that worry me a bit would be (Sikhumbuzo) Notshe, Ali Vermaak, Sergeal Petersen, Dan du Plessis is of course a long-term one and Cobus Wiese, Johan du Toit and Kobus van Dyk.
“We’re without four really good loose forwards so we’re tested a bit there, and we’re a bit thin at centre. For the rest, we’re good.
“Sergeal, Jano (Vermaak) and Ali have a few weeks still, the rest I think a little bit longer.”
But even if an injury situation wasn’t the case, the shortened competition format also brings another obstacle – and that’s the lack of experimenting with selections it allows as every game is practically a must-win if you want to host a home final.
“If we are to see the Currie Cup as a developmental competition, then we need to play a double round to get guys through. If you want to host a home final, you pretty much have to go unbeaten. So there’s not a lot of room for manoeuvre,” Dobson said.
“If you’re going to say it’s out premier domestic competition then it needs to be treated like that, looking at the fixtures and the number of teams.
“If you’re trying to increase the depth of South African rugby and brings players through, then I think it should be a double round.”
Despite the injuries and a significant number of Springbok call-ups, Dobson also found a positive to focus on – the return of Godlen Masimla.
“(At scrumhalf) we’ve got Paul de Wet, Justin Phillips and Godlen Masimla has also come back and joined us from the Kings. I rated him very highly when he was here, so I’m looking forward to giving him another chance.”
WP will kick off their Currie Cup campaign against the Blue Bulls on Saturday (5.15pm).