Lock concerns for Stormers
Lock concerns for StormersSHARE
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee will be forced to name a makeshift lock pairing for Saturday’s pre-season game against the Bulls in Polokwane.
The Stormers will be without the trio of Jaco Taute, Brok Harris and Manual Carizza for the weekend's warm-up match, the most concerning loss of which being that of the Pumas lock considering the Cape side’s lack of second row depth.
“Manual is tight around the groin area. There’s no tear it’s just tight but you don’t take chances with that.
"Brok got a bump to the thigh so he’s quite stiff and Jaco has tightness as well.
"He’s out training but last week I had to pull him back. The knee is 100 percent; he’s just a bit tight all over,” Coetzee explained on Monday.
“I would have loved to have them in the mix, but there’s no need to push these kind of players yet. We have a policy of making sure players get enough game time and we have two games left after this weekend, where after I’d like to have most players to have played between 80 and 120 minutes.”
De Kock Steenkamp is yet to join the squad as he’s still struggling to shake a groin injury, while Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth will be out until April due to an ankle injury.
“De Kock has a groin injury he’s been battling with since last year, which has been treated very conservatively. I’m not sure at this stage when he’ll be back. He’s seeing another specialist today and we’ll take it from there,” said Coetzee.
The Stormers coach said as a result, utility forwards Rynhardt Elstadt and Michael Rhodes will likely feature in the second row in the coming weeks.
“I definitely see Rynhardt as a lock at this stage. Right now we're battling with depth at lock and we’ll need experience there.
“Rynhardt is looking very good. Post Currie Cup, him and Pat Cilliers went for minor operations and he’s a week and a half ahead of where he should have been. He’ll probably play 40 minutes this weekend.
"Michael Rhodes is another player who we’ll look at at lock. With Schalk Burger back, we are blessed with excellent loose forward resources, so although I know they can play at No.7, we’ll look at them to play in the second row at this stage.”
Coetzee intimated that Elstadt and young Ruan Botha may get the nod for the weekend’s game.
“Ruan’s gone through a full conditioning phase with us and he’s holding up, which is a good sign. He’s got a good chance of starting this weekend and it would be good to see how he goes against a quality Bulls line-out.”
Coetzee added the teams have decided to use 26-man squads for Saturday's friendly.
“We have agreed to allow nine substitutes but once a player is off he cannot return,” Coetzee said.
Stormers 26-man squad:
Props: Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe, Oli Kebble, Justin Ackermann
Hookers: Siyabonga Ntubeni, Tiaan Liebenberg
Locks: Rynhardt Elstadt, Michael Rhodes, Ruan Botha, Jean Kleyn
Loose forwards: Nizaam Carr, Duane Vermeulen, Siya Kolisi, Schalk Burger, Deon Fourie
Scrumhalves: Nic Groom, Louis Schreuder
Flyhalves: Demetri Catrakilis, Gary van Aswegen
Centre: Jean de Villiers, Juan de Jongh
Wings: Damian de Allende, Scott van Breda, Kobus van Wyk
Fullbacks: Gio Aplon, Ryno Eksteen