What are the Stormers' options?

Thu, 24 Jan 2013 13:33
Large bezuidenhout barnes wepener Large martin bezuidenhout lions Large ryno barnes charges Large willie wepener bulls line o

World Cup winner John Smit is not on the Stormers' wish-list, but what are their options as they look for a short-term replacement at hooker?

World Cup winner John Smit is not on the Stormers' wish-list, but what are their options as they look for a short-term replacement at hooker?

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee was pretty specific when asked this week about the qualities of the three hookers he is negotiating with.

"I am looking for an experienced hooker," Coetzee said, adding that all three are South African-based.

It is pretty obvious that the Stormers mentor is looking for a seasoned hooker of Super Rugby standard.

It has been suggested that Lions hooker Martin Bezuidenhout is the front runner to fill the vacancy, and he is definitely on Coetzee's shortlist.

Golden Lions Rugby Union President Kevin de Klerk confirmed that Bezuidenhout could be 'loaned' to the Stormers for a few months, but added that nothing is confirmed yet.

The only issue with Bezuidenhout is that at 23, with just 20-odd Super Rugby and 40 Currie Cup games to his credit, he may not be as 'seasoned' as Coetzee would want - given that he is effectively looking for a player with real experience.

Griquas captain Ryno Barnes, who is in the Cheetahs' wider squad, is another player 'shortlisted' in the media. At 31 and with more than 100 Currie Cup games he has 'experience', but he has limited Super Rugby exposure - having featured in just 20-odd Super Rugby encounters.

The player that best suits Coetzee's requirements is veteran Bulls No.2 Willie Wepener. At age 31, with over 100 first class matches (between the Golden Lions, Griquas, Clermont and Blue Bulls) and more than 50 Super Rugby matches he is certainly 'experienced' enough for the Stormers.

Bezuidenhout is the Lions' first-choice hooker, Barnes is still trying to secure his place in the Cheetahs' final Super Rugby squad, while Wepener has dropped well down the pecking order at the Bulls and is almost certainly available at the drop of a hat.

Here is a look at the top, South African-based hookers in the local franchises:

Bulls: Bongi Mbonambi, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Callie Visagie (on loan from the Lions) and Willie Wepener

Cheetahs: Ryno Barnes, Hercu Liebenberg, Adriaan Strauss, Torsten van Jaarsveld (on loan from the Pumas)

Kings: Hannes Franklin (injured - likely to miss entire season), Virgile Lacombe (signed from Toulouse),  Bandise Maku (signed from Lions), Edgar Marutlulle (on loan from the Leopards)

Sharks:  Craig Burden, Kyle Cooper, Monde Hadebe, Bismarck du Plessis (injured - return date uncertain, maybe April)

Stormers: Deon Fourie, Tiaan Liebenberg (injured - could miss first month), Siyabonga Ntubeni (injured - back by mid-April or the end of April)

Lions: Martin Bezuidenhout, Robbie Coetzee, Francois du Toit

By Jan de Koning

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
Sat, 03 June 2017
Crusaders v Highlanders 02h35 Christchurch
Chiefs v Waratahs 05h05 Hamilton
NZ Barbarians v B&I Lions 07h35 Toll Stadium
Brumbies v Rebels 09h45 Canberra
Force v Hurricanes 11h35 Perth
Sun, 04 June 2017
Ireland U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v France U20 07h00 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Australia U20 v Samoa U20 09h30 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
England U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 54 | 10
Sat, 27 May 2017
Jaguares v Brumbies 15 | 39
Munster v Scarlets 22 | 46
Sharks v Stormers 22 | 10
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 20 | 23
Bulls v Hurricanes 20 | 34
Rebels v Crusaders 19 | 41
Highlanders v Waratahs 44 | 28
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 7 | 47
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 12 5 0 7 28
Waratahs 12 4 0 8 19
Force 12 4 0 8 17
Reds 12 3 0 9 16
Rebels 12 1 1 10 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 13 13 0 0 59
Hurricanes 12 10 0 2 48
Highlanders 13 10 0 3 45
Chiefs 12 9 1 2 45
Blues 13 6 1 6 33
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 0 5 34
Cheetahs 13 3 0 10 16
Bulls 12 3 0 9 15
Sunwolves 12 1 0 11 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 12 0 1 56
Sharks 13 9 1 3 42
Jaguares 12 5 0 7 24
Kings 12 4 0 8 19