Coetzee: 'Bekker is good to go'
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has revealed that injury-plagued lock Andries Bekker should be 'good-to-go' for the Super Rugby clash with the Lions on June 30.
The experienced lock has been suffering from a back injury and missed out on the Stormers' victory against the Bulls, so wasn't available for the Springboks.
Missing out on Bok selection has become an annoying trend for Bekker, who battled his way valiantly through am impressive Super Rugby campaign last year, only to pick up an injury in the semifinals that ended his season.
The 28-year-old has not played for South Africa since July 2010 and questions have been asked of the workload he is put through for his franchise.
"We have tried to manage Andries, we have tried to managed his training time and his game time but I suppose it wasn't good enough and he is at the point where he can't cope with the workload," Coetzee said at the time of Bekker's most recent injury.
However, after some time on the sideline it appears as though the big man is ready to return to the field just in time for the next installment of Super Rugby.
"On the home front, Andries Bekker has made great progress and should be good-to-go come the Lions," Coetzee said on Tuesday.
There are also several other high profile stars who have been struggling with injuries this year, but the coach is please that he could be getting some men back after the break.
"Duane [Vermeulen] is firmly on track with his rehab and remains set for a return for any potential play-offs," he said.
"Schalla's [Schalk Burger] progress has however been slower than hoped and it is unlikely that both he and [Nick] Koster will be available for the Lions game.
"We had a massive run into the break, playing the Sharks and Bulls away. We had a number of injuries and our guys were tired. The break came at a great time for us and the cherry on top was the win at Loftus to end that phase of our season.
"We used the first week of the off period to give the guys a full break from the rigours of the competition. A little R&R and time for the body to recover from the niggles.
"Week two saw us look to do strength and conditioning work. It's something you can only really do pre-season and it was really good to be able to focus on this element at this stage. We will undoubtedly see this pay off as we progress in the competition.
"Mentally, I felt the guys were fatigued by the end of the of our last league game at Loftus. A break from the competition has been good for us both mentally and physically. The guys are now really focused on getting the job done and are hungry again for competition phase."
With a number of players up with the Boks, a contingent of the victorious WP Vodacom Cup players are training with the Stormers squad.
"As cover, we have been working with Don Armand and Tyrone Holmes, from the Province squad, whilst Jebb Sinclair is due back with us next week and [Siya] Kolisi will return from the Bok camp. Unfortunately [Rynhardt] Elstadt is also not available for the Lions game, given his one week ban for picking up three yellows." said the coach.
"The squad is focused and hungry to get back into competition mode. There is still a lot of rugby to be played in the competition and we are well positioned, which really excites the guys.
"We will certainly look to capitalise now and every player knows exactly what is required of him individually and from the team as a whole."