Stormers' injury count mounts
INJURY UPDATE: The Stormers have a new injury concern ahead of the start of Super Rugby next week.
Springbok prop Wilco Louw suffered a hip flexor injury during the Stormers' 26-26 draw with the Bulls in a pre-season match in Wellington on Saturday.
The severity of the injury is yet to be determined and he will be assessed further after going for scans.
It is not good news for head coach Robbie Fleck as he is already without Frans Malherbe, who will be missing for the first few weeks of Super Rugby with a neck injury.
Other players on the Stormers injury list include Alistair Vermaak (hamstring), Siyabonga Ntubeni (hamstring), Eben Etzebeth (shoulder), Pieter-Steph du Toit (back), Siyamthanda Kolisi (hamstring), Juarno Augustus (neck), Jano Vermaak (knee), Jean-Luc du Plessis (hip), Daniel du Plessis (shoulder) and Sarel Marais (toe).
Meanwhile, despite Louw's injury, Fleck was encouraged by what he saw from his squad in the game against the Bulls.
"It was exactly what we needed – a good hard game with a good tempo," he said.
The Bulls managed to put the Stormers under considerable pressure in the first half, testing their defence for extended periods.
Fleck said that the way that his team was able to handle that to go into half-time trailing by just one try and then adjust their approach in the second half was encouraging.
"We were our own worst enemies in that first half where the penalty count was 12 to two.
"We were giving away far too many penalties and they were winning the territory battle. We gave them opportunity after opportunity and they kept coming at us.
"In saying that we scored a very good try under pressure, I think the guys showed some good character to defend like we had to in that first half.
"The second half was much better, we turned it around and I think we were 19-5 up with three minutes left to play when they got that try from a quick tap to make it even.
"It was a far better response from our players discipline-wise, we got our tactics right, we were a little bit more direct and defensively we were better, which showed in the performance in the second half," he explained.