More injuries cripple Stormers
More injuries cripple StormersSHARE
Injuries are continuing to cripple the Stormers as they head into the final week of their month-long Australasian tour.
Western Province utility forward Gerbrandt Grobler has flown to Australia to answer a Stormers SOS – with back row stars Rynhardt Elstadt and Duane Vermeulen on their way home with knee injuries.
Both Elstadt and Vermeulen limped off in the final 10 minutes of the Stormers' 15-21 Super Rugby defeat to the Waratahs in Sydney at the weekend and the pair face up to two months on the sidelines.
Grobler left for Australia on Sunday, with Elstadt and Vermeulen set to depart for South Africa on Monday.
"Both Rynhardt and Duane will be out for six to eight weeks – both suffered Medial Collateral Ligament [MCL] injuries," Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said.
"It's a massive blow for us at this stage of the season."
In the absence of Elstadt and Vermeulen, Don Armand and Nizaam Carr could move into the starting line-up against the Rebels this coming Friday, with Grobler – fresh off a strong Cup campaign for WP in the Vodacom Cup – set to provide cover from the bench.
"As we saw in the final 10 minutes against the Waratahs – losing Rynhardt and Duane had a big effect on the final result," said Coetzee.
"We really will miss their influence – on defence and with ball in hand – but I have full confidence in Don and Nizaam to step up into starting roles should they be required to do so."
Grobler, 21, has made one appearance for the Stormers this season, coming off the bench in his team's 22-15 win over the Sharks a month ago.
He played in for Western Province in the Vodacom Cup semifinal at the weekend – a game which WP lost 25-44 to the Golden Lions in Johannesburg.
However, he had no time to reflect on the defeat after being forced to pack his bags on Sunday for the trip to Sydney.
Said Coetzee: "Gerbrandt will provide much-needed cover from the bench for us against the Rebels.
"He is a good line-out forward and won't be short of match practice after playing a key role for WP up until now. We look forward to his arrival and getting him up to speed for Friday.
"We've got to stay positive and keep working hard for the next game, despite it being a short week [with the game on Friday]," added the Stormers coach.
"The players that are fit, along with Gerbrandt when he arrives, will have to do the job for us against the Rebels."
Meanwhile, hooker Deon Fourie – who picked up a rib injury against the Waratahs – will stay on with the squad in the hope of being fit for the Rebels clash.
"We will continue to monitor Deon, on a day-to-day basis," said Coetzee. "He was in less discomfort today [Sunday], so we will see how he looks on Monday."
Fourie, of course, can also provide back row cover for the Stormers – having played in the No.6 jersey during Western Province's Currie Cup triumph last year.
The Stormers squad will do video analysis and gym work on Monday, before resuming full training in Sydney on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The team will transfer to Melbourne on Thursday ahead of their final tour match, against the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday.
The squad will return home on Saturday.