DHL Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has made four changes to his team for Saturday’s Absa Currie Cup meeting with the MTN Golden Lions at DHL Newlands (kick-off 14h00).
Halfbacks Louis Schreuder and Demetri Catrakilis will start in the backline, whilst fit-again flanker Rynhardt Elstadt returns at No.7, which sees Michael Rhodes shift back into the second row where he began the Absa Currie Cup season.
Schreuder and Catrakilis come in for Nic Groom and Kurt Coleman, respectively, with Rhodes replacing youngster Tazz Fuzani in the No.4 jersey. Scrumhalf Groom and flyhalf Coleman will warm the bench this week, but lock Fuzani drops out altogether with loose forwards Schalk Burger and Josh Katzen continuing amongst the replacements.
DHL Western Province have probably lost Juan de Jongh for their next two matches after the centre was called up by the Springboks on Sunday, but they should be significantly boosted for Friday’s crucial Absa Currie Cup clash with the Toyota Free State Cheetahs.
WP were set back before their match against the GWK Griquas at Newlands at the start of the weekend by the late withdrawal of big blindside flanker Rynhardt Elstadt.
It’s been a dramatic weekend in Super Rugby with a number of players being cited, banned, injured and more.
Where does one start…
Ma’a Nonu of the Highlanders has been banned for 3 weeks for a Red Card tackle on Crusaders Tom Marshall, and is therefore out of the rest of Super Rugby in 2013. Jarrad Hoeata also of the Highlanders received a 1-week ban following 3 Yellow Cards.
Stormers and Springbok loose forward, Siya Koilisi is out injured for 6 weeks with torn ankle ligaments. Louis Fouché of the Bulls has injured knee ligaments requiring surgery and will be out for 6 months. The Blues have received a double hit with Chris Noakes and Piri Weepu out injured.
At the Cheetahs, Coenie Oosthuizen and Elgar Watts were casualties from the disasterous Cheetahs game against the Stormers and the Cheetahs will be sweating this week on their readyness to face the Blues on the coming weekend.
Meanwhile it is reported that the Stormers heavy guns who missed out on the past weekend’s game, Jean de Villiers, Rynhardt Elstadt and PatCilliers will be ready and available on the weekend for the Stormers.
Western Province Vodacom Cup star Gerbrandt Grobler has flown to Australia to bolster the DHL Stormers’ forward resources, with back row stars Rynhardt Elstadt and Duane Vermeulen on their way home with knee injuries.
“This is where the debate starts to get interesting. So much conjecture around Schalk Burger, his role and where he should play. With Francois Louw gone, is the fetching role going to be an area of contention?” This was my view from the same article 12 months ago – has anything changed?
Schalk Burger still under a cloud, Nizaam Carr still hobbling, but a plethora of very good players in the squad means that if these two players do ever get into frontline rugby again, the Stormers will certainly be able to post a formidable loose trio on match days!
With only four locks in the squad, and the well documented injury problems that Bekker seems to pick up on a regular basis, this looks like an area of concern for Alister Coetzee and his assistants.
Springbok Eben Etzebeth was running at full tilt at the Stormers’ training session in Bellville on Thursday, and is fit to lock the side’s vulnerable scrum in their Super Rugby semi-final at Newlands next week.
Juan de Jongh - Fit again
Schalk Burger - Crocked
Some good news, tempered with some bad news…
Juan de Jongh returns to the fold this week in preparation for the Stormers game against the Sharks, but the initial assessment of Schalk Burger’s injury was further compounded by news now that Schalk Burger, their mercurial captain and one-man wrecking machine, will be out for at least 6 weeks if not more, with damaged medial knee ligaments.
Andries Bekker and Jean de Villiers have some injury niggles, Rynhardt Elstadt is on his way back… and Peter Grant joins the Stormers this week from Japan.
This section deals with the locks for the Stormers. As with the Hookers, I think this is one of the stronger areas of the Stormers team, and when Bekker is back, it will make for one of the better lock combinations in the competition.
France Rugby World Cup scrumhalf Dimitri Yachvili says he is recovering well from a thigh injury he sustained playing against England and is “confident” of playing in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup semifinal against Wales.