Western Province hooker Tiaan Liebenberg has been forced to retire after being plagued by back injuries for some time now.
The 32-year-old will be returning to Bloemfontein to join up with his family and to get involved with the business.
The hooker was a mere spectator during Western Province’s 19-16 Currie Cup victory over the Lions on Saturday and although the veteran has reached some lofty heights in rugby, he was still sad not to be a part of it.
Tiaan Liebenberg’s back problem has flared up again but that blow to DHL Western Province’s build-up to Saturday’s north/south Absa Currie Cup showdown with the Vodacom Blue Bulls has been offset by the news that as many as six top players will be returning to action this week.
Scarra Ntubeni is among those that will be assessed on Monday, and he will be an obvious replacement for Liebenberg at hooker should he be declared fit. Liebenberg is to undergo a scan to assess the severity of his injury but he will definitely miss the Bulls game.
The other players coming back into the system are Rynhardt Elstadt, who has been out since the early stages of Super Rugby, Brok Harris, Kurt Coleman, Jaco Taute and Ruan Botha. The latter should come in at No 5 lock, with Manuel Carizza moving to the front of the lineout as Eben Etzebeth will be the with the Boks this week.
DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee adopted a different approach to his former Springbok management colleague Jake White during the break from Vodacom Super Rugby for the June internationals.
While White had his Cell C Sharks players play club rugby in the last weeks of the break so they don’t hit the remaining phase of the season cold, Coetzee’s players haven’t played in any matches since the win over the Sharks in Durban on the last day of May. The only players to see action in June were the Springboks.
However, the Stormers shouldn’t expect to take any cobwebs into Saturday’s big derby match against the Vodacom Bulls at Newlands as in the two weeks back in training after the taking the first two weeks off, the Stormers have been steadily upping the intensity in training.
Squad captain Jean de Villiers, prop Pat Cilliers and lock / flank Jurie van Vuuren are all back on deck this week, and available for selection against the Lions.
Hookers Scarra Ntubeni and Tiaan Liebenberg and wing Kobus van Wyk are not available for selection as yet, whilst flank Schalk Burger and winger Cheslin Kolbe will be given until later in the week to see if they are available.
DHL Stormers hooker Tiaan Liebenberg has also flown home from his team’s Vodacom Super Rugby tour of Australia, joining Schalk Burger who returned to Cape Town on Sunday.
This is the second article in the series of Stormers Squad Contenders for Super Rugby 2014. We do 2 articles per week per South African Super Rugby participating franchise.
We discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.
In this Article we look at the contenders for HOOKERS in the DHL Stormers 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.
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.
Western Province’s Springbok hooker Tiaan Liebenberg could be out of action for the rest of the Currie Cup season.
Although he announced last Wednesday the five-times capped Bok, who was battling with back spasms, could be out for two or three weeks, WP coach Allister Coetzee said in Cape Town on Monday that latest scans show that Liebenberg may have suffered spinal disc damage.
Schalk Burger has been set to resume training today after a long term injury.
He recently underwent minor tendon surgery which delayed his return.
Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has been forced to make a late change at hooker ahead of Saturday’s Currie Cup clash against the Sharks at Newlands.
Tiaan Liebenberg has been ruled out with a back spasm, meaning Siyabonga Ntubeni will start in the No.2 jersey and young Michael Willemse will warm the bench.
DHL Western Province may have suffered a blow to their chances of scoring the win they need against the Sharks to go to the top of the Absa Currie Cup log with the news that there is an injury cloud hanging over hooker Tiaan Liebenberg.
Allister Coetzee, the DHL Western Province head coach, has released an injury report ahead of this week’s Absa Currie Cup, Round Two preparations.
Springbok Pat Cilliers will make his second start of the 2013 season, after being named at loosehead prop for the DHL Stormers’ Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Crusaders at DHL Newlands on Saturday (kick-off 19:10).
Allister Coetzee named his 22 man squad to take on the Chiefs in the DHL Stormers’ first home game of the season this Saturday.
Doubts surrounding the availability of Tiaan Liebenberg and Scarra Ntubeni has forced the Stormers management to urgently search for a back-up to Deon Fourie for the start of the Super Rugby campaign.
Time to talk about the men in the middle. Although there is heaps of talent, and plenty of experience, they seem to be very thin on the ground, especially if Fourie does decide to migrate to the side of the scrum… or perhaps even further!
It’s crunch-time in the Currie Cup, with only semi-finals and finals remaining but only one of the four semi-final sides, the Blue Bulls have a clean bill of health on their 22 squad players.
The second instalment of the ‘Series de Stormers’, this section deals with the men in the middle.
The All Blacks have called up fly half Stephen Donald and winger Hosea Gear as replacements for full back Mils Muliaina and fly half Colin Slade who have both been ruled out due to injury.