Habana boost for Stormers
Habana boost for StormersSHARE
Springbok wing Bryan Habana will return from injury in time for the Stormers’ tour of Australasia later this month.
Habana has been making good progress since he suffered a knee injury in the 36-34 win over the Chiefs with coach Allister Coetzee on Monday confirming the flyer will “definitely” be fit for the tour and suggesting he could make his return off the bench in the tour opener against the Hurricanes on April 26.
Coetzee also confirmed that Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth (ankle) and young hooker Scarra Ntubeni (shoulder) will further boost the touring party.
After the physically intense encounter against the Crusaders last Saturday, Coetzee revealed that flank Rynhardt Elstadt (shoulder) and wing Gerhard van den Heever (knee) have been ruled out of the clash against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
“Gerhard will be out for a minimum of two weeks so he will miss this weekend and the Sharks game. Rynhardt is also out for this weekend; we’ll assess him next week and take it from there,” said Coetzee.
Springbok duo Elton Jantjies and Juan de Jongh sat out training on Monday, but will return to training later in the week. “Elton took a knock to his shoulder so he and Juan sat out today but they should be fine. Juan is just a bit stiff…it’s nothing serious,” said Coetzee.
In the wake of the latest injuries, Coetzee was happy to welcome back loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff, who rejoined team training on Monday after spending a week on the sidelines due to suspension.
“Getting players back is always good. We are losing two but at least we got one back,” said Coetzee.
The Stormers coach added that flank-cum-lock Don Armand (intercostal rib muscle injury) is doubtful for this weekend and would likely be replaced by fit-again Michael Rhodes should he fail to recover in time.
“Michael returns from injury at a perfect time. He had a run out in the Vodacom Cup and a full week training with the team last week. He would definitely replace Rynhardt at seven and we’d have Nizaam Carr covering flank on the bench.”
Coetzee also hinted of a possible Super Rugby debut for promising Western Province Vodacom Cup lock Gerbrand Grobler.
“Don also covered lock, so we would probably look at calling up someone from the Vodacom Cup team. We do have Gerbrand Grobler who’s been training with us,” he said.
Pat Cilliers (hand/forearm) has been cleared and will, again, be able to take his place in the Stormers side. The natural tighthead prop received praise from Coetzee for his performance in the No.1 jersey against the revered Crusaders scrum.
“I’m very pleased with the way Pat scrummed. He scrummed really well and he played well. His workrate was right up there, which is pleasing, and that was against a quality team,” said Coetzee.
In terms of covering the back three with Van der Heever sidelined, Coetzee said they have a number of options as cover in Marcel Brache, who recently returned to training, Tim Swiel, Gary van Aswegen and Kurt Coleman.
Veteran Springbok Schalk Burger is still hospitalised with bacterial meningitis.