CAPE TOWN – The Stormers’ woes on their Australasian tour were compounded yesterday when their lengthy injury list grew even further.
The tourists have already lost locks JD Schickerling and Eben Etzebeth, along with centre Dan du Plessis. Loose-forward Pieter-Steph du Toit is also no longer with the team after flying home after the Blues game to be at the birth of his son.
The situation has been aggravated with a third lock, Chris van Zyl, also heading back to Cape Town now. Van Zyl sustained a serious back injury in Friday’s defeat to the Reds and will be ruled out for up to six weeks. He will be joined on the flight home by utility back SP Marais and captain Siya Kolisi.
Marais has a hip flexor injury, while the Stormers and Springbok skipper is being rested this week.
Centre Dan Kriel and hooker Chad Solomon have flown out to join the team in Melbourne ahead of their final tour match against the Rebels on Friday.
The decision to rest Kolisi would not have been an easy one for coach Robbie Fleck as his team are desperate to break their run of overseas defeats.
“For us it has probably been a bit more difficult (to rest Springboks). We have incurred injuries along the way, ideally we would like to manage some guys on this tour. But then we had to send some guys home to injuries. Obviously that makes it more difficult,” Fleck said after the Reds defeat.
“Next week we’re going to have a few tough decisions to make. We have a tough trip down to the Rebels. Again we’re going to have to look at managing some players, but we’re looking for that first win. We’re going to have to weigh up what’s more important.”
It seems now that Fleck has put the national cause ahead of the Stormers’ objectives, particularly with this being a World Cup year. He will only hope that his team can cope with their skipper’s absence better than the way they did in Brisbane.
Centre Dan Kriel and hooker Chad Solomon will join the DHL Stormers squad in Australia, with the injured duo of SP Marais (hip) and Chris van Zyl (back) on the way back to Cape Town along with captain Siya Kolisi who is resting this week - https://t.co/f5mEUWKaTU #iamastormer— DHL STORMERS (@THESTORMERS) April 7, 2019
Kolisi was guilty of a yellow-card offence at the Suncorp Stadium and was sent to the sin-bin for 10 minutes shortly before the halftime break. The Reds capitalised on the opportunity and scored 14 points while Kolisi was on the sidelines, which was ultimately the difference in the game.
“The yellow card was critical. Credit to the Reds. The first 10 minutes of the second half, they capitalised on the opportunity and they did well to win it.
They were pretty good during that period and exploited that advantage. We defended poorly.
It was always going to be a bit of catch-up after that. It is a bit tough to swallow that,” Fleck said.@ZaahierAdams