Stormers can't just bank on returnees, says Fleck
CAPE TOWN – While the Stormers will welcome back a few regulars this week, coach Robbie Fleck says they shouldn’t rely on their returnees too much.
After being ravaged by injury, Fleck said they will be welcoming Seabelo Senatla and Scarra Ntubeni back this week, while Damian de Allende, who sat out the Sunwolves game as per the Springbok resting protocols, will also be available.
JD Schickerling and Pieter-Steph du Toit could also be ready for the Stormers’ must-win clash against the Sharks on Saturday, but Fleck is approaching the situation cautiously.
“We’ve got to back the guys that we select. We can do nothing about the injury situation. There’s no point in crying over spilt milk. Those guys (the players who have been ruled out for the remainder of the Super Rugby season) aren’t returning, so this is the group that’s got to take us to the play-offs and help us win next week’s game.
“We don’t want to hang our hopes on the guys who are coming back. We’ve got to put good plans in place to beat the Sharks and back the guys.”
While the Stormers moved one step closer to reaching the playoffs with a 31-18 win over the Sunwolves, four points isn’t the only thing they got from that game.
Scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies went off before halftime, and Fleck later confirmed that he sustained an injury to his clavicle.
Jantjies’ injury is yet another blow for the injury-plagued Stormers, and while there was only one, possibly two casualties this week, it will feel way worse than that given how massive Jantjies has been this season.
“I don’t know the status of him yet, he’ll go for scans,” Fleck said. “It’s not looking good at the moment. Johan du Toit may also have a bit of an injury.”
“It is a collar bone injury (Jantjies), but I will wait to get feedback on it before commenting further. It has been unfortunate over the past few weeks that we have had to deal with a lot of injuries but every week we deal with it.”
Against the Sunwolves, the Stormers showed a much-improved defensive effort to the one they displayed at Ellis Park, despite two just-too-easy tries by Sunwolves fullback Semisi Masirewa.
Fleck can also be pleased with the efforts of the new guys like Edwill van der Merwe, and backing those players will be key this week.
“The Sunwolves came with massive line speed. We let ourselves down in those last five minutes. We just need to instill confidence in the guys and let them believe that they can beat the Sharks next week.
“We spoke about it during the week. First and foremost we needed to get the win. At least we’ve given ourselves that. We leaked those two tries at the end,” Fleck said.
The win saw the Stormers move up to seventh spot on the combined log and fourth in the South African conference.@WynonaLouw