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

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 08h45 Melbourne
Fri, 24 February 2017
Highlanders v Chiefs 06h35 Dunedin
Reds v Sharks 09h00 Brisbane
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9