Cape Town – The Stormers have recalled versatile loose forward Pieter Louw to help alleviate their current injury crisis in the back row.
The 27-year-old Louw, who boasts 64 caps for Western Province and 17 caps for the Stormers, stopped playing last year after his WP contract was not renewed.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee confirmed that Louw started training with the Cape franchise again.
“Pieter has decided to make a comeback and is back in training with us. He is an experienced campaigner who has the ability to play in all the back three positions at 6, 7 and 8. It’s now all about getting him fit as soon possible,” said Coetzee.
Stormers captain Schalk Burger has been missing from the Stormers side since tearing medial ligaments in a knee during their Super Rugby opening-round clash with the Hurricanes at Newlands on February 25.
The Cape franchise then subsequently lost the services of loose forwards Duane Vermeulen, Nick Koster and Nizaam Carr – also with knee injuries.
Coetzee then managed to secure the services of Canadian No 8 Jebb Sinclair after unsuccessful attempts to lure Francois Louw from Bath.
Saracens No 8 Ernst Joubert and Todd Clever from NTT Shining Arcs in Japan – both former Lions players – were also considered as options.
The South African Conference leaders suffered another setback when talented youngster Siya Kolisi, who has been in impressive form since he replaced Burger in the No 6 jersey in the Hurricanes clash, had to withdraw before last week’s 25-20 loss to the Sharks in Durban.
Deon Fourie, normally a hooker, had to play on the side of the scrum. Nick Fenton-Wells, captain of the victorious WP Vodacom Cup side, was drafted into the Stormers team to do duty on the bench.
Coetzee has however confirmed that Kolisi, who has a bruised shoulder, has a 99% chance to tackle the Bulls in a crunch Super Rugby derby at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.
Burger and Koster are expected to be back in action in July while Vermeulen’s injury will take a bit longer to heal. Carr is out for the rest of the season.