CAPE TOWN – While the Stormers will have gained some good confidence from their 34-22 victory over the Highlanders, they also gained a number of injury concerns.
There’s a chance that the Stormers, who tied the Crusaders 19-all last weekend, could go into their match against the Lions at Ellis Park without some of their Springboks after Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Scarra Ntubeni all took a knock against the Highlanders in their top Newlands production, while Eben Etzebeth was a late withdrawal before the game.
After the game, Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said that Kolisi would go for scans on his knee while Du Toit, who has a pre-existing shoulder problem, would see a specialist today.
Kolisi left the field before half-time, and Du Toit was felled on several occasions in the match.
Injuries seem to be hitting the Stormers at the worst part of the season.
They are already without first-choice hooker Bongi Mbonambi (thigh problem), who is only expected to return in two weeks time.
“We took a few knocks over the course of the contest, and had to be smart with our substitutions at the end,” said Fleck. “Pieter-Steph and Scarra Ntubeni played close to 80 minutes, even though they were both carrying injuries.
“It’s been a real challenge for us over the past two weeks. There were a lot of bumps and bruises after the Crusaders game, and there are a lot of tired bodies after the game against the Highlanders.
“We will give the guys Monday (today) off to recover. We may even wait until Thursday to train, as some of the guys may need some extra time. It’s important that we get them back, because the Lions game is a big one,” Fleck said.
While the Stormers’ recent form certainly impressed Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger, the Cape side will be hoping that their injury situation doesn’t get any worse and that the news on Kolisi isn’t too bad as they prepare for their last three crunch matches.
“We were chasing them for most of the game,” said Mauger. “They were more physical, and really beat us around the collisions and breakdowns.
“If they keep playing like they did today, I believe they will go far in the tournament. The fans in this region should be really excited about the rugby they are producing at present.”@WynonaLouw