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Stormers holding back their big guns

Mon, 28 Jan 2013 19:56
Schalk-burger-media Elton-jantjies-stormers Allister-coetzee-presser Jean-de-villiers-b_w Deon-fourie-camara
You will have noticed the Stormers flag is flying half-mast
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Don't expect too many of the Stormers' big name stars to run out against the Cheetahs in a pre-season Super Rugby match in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Coach Allister Coetzee revealed on Monday that Springboks Jean de Villiers and Schalk Burger, along with other frontline players like Deon Fourie, Siya Kolisi and Rynhardt Elstadt will not feature during the trip to the Free State stadium.

Then, of course, Bok import Elton Jantjies will miss the franchise's warm-up matches after the death of his father, Thomas, this past weekend.

Thomas Jantjies, 46, a warrant officer in the army, died in One Military Hospital in Pretoria this past Saturday after complications from a bee sting.

"It's really sad, a real tragedy for the Jantjies family and we want to support Elton in whatever way we can," Coetzee told a media briefing.

"You will have noticed the Stormers flag is flying half-mast today [Monday]," the coach said, adding: "It does impact on the team.

"Once his dad has been laid to rest, we'll assess how he feels."

Coetzee said the No.10. on loan from the Lions, will not be any pressure to return to action and he will most likely not play in the two warm-up matches - against the Cheetahs and Boland Cavaliers.

Coetzee did not want to speculate on what might happen if Jantjies is not back for the season opener against the Bulls on Friday, February 22.

The return date of Japan-based flyhalf Peter Grant is again up in the air, with his club having reached the play-offs in the domestic competition there.

Coetzee said the other players missing this week's game, because of an assortment of injuries, would be eased back into action against the Cavaliers next weekend.

"Scalla [Schalk Burger] had one session this [Monday] morning and has a bit of a tight calf," he said, adding: "But one session was sufficient in terms of what he had to do in terms of his fitness.

"Jean [de Villiers] had a cyst removed and he still has a couple of stitches in. There is no need to rush him back.

"Deon [Fourie] had quite a severe knock to the quad [muscle] and has a haematoma. It is just precautionary, as we don't want to risk him with the situation [at hooker].

"[Rookie] Stephan Coetzee and [Lions loan player] Martin Bezuidenhout will feature [at hooker] this week.

"[Flank] Siya [Kolisi] is down with tonsillitis. We'll see how it goes tomorrow [Tuesday] and if he is not ready then I probably won't select him.

"[Utility forward] Rynhardt Elstadt is also still on the sidelines. I am still not happy with the recovery of hamstring, which he tweaked last week. It is not serious, but there is no need to push Rynhardt to play - he'll be fine for [the] Boland [match]."

Coetzee said all the players carrying niggles should all be available to play next week.

"They have to [play]. You have to play a certain number of minutes before you can be considered for the first game [of the competition] against the Bulls [on February 22]."

The Stormers coach said Saturday's game would be a good indication of where they are, in regards to their conditioning.

"It also ensure that the guys get some good contact," he added.

"There are certain things we are looking for in the warm-up games.

"The most important thing is conditioning, to make sure we are ready for Super Rugby.

"Then the work-rate of the players, that is massively important. If there is no work-rate, then the conditioning phase was not good enough.

"You want to make sure you get confidence in the systems, confidence if the fitness and confidence in the team - you have to build up in these pre-season matches."

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