thestormers.co.za and James Mortimer 26.Mar.2013Getty Images
The injury update is as follows:
- Winger Gio Aplon did his CogSport test (for concussion) on Monday and it was positive. “If he comes through without any symptoms he will be available for selection, but we were very happy with his CogSport testing and how he came through training today,” said Coetzee. “The initial test was very positive and his training will increase gradually this week – we will, however, take care with him; his well-being is of the utmost importance to us.”
- Tiaan Liebenberg (hooker), Andries Bekker (lock), Jean de Villiers (centre) and Joe Pietersen (fullback) all sat out training on Monday with minor injuries. Coetzee explained: “It was a normal Monday for us in terms of managing those players. The big thing is to ensure these players are 100% to train and then to play against the Crusaders (on Saturday). They will all be up for selection.”
- Flyhalf Peter Grant (ankle) will be out for a bit longer than initially expected. “Syndesmosis is quite a tricky injury,” said Coetzee. “He picked up a similar injury (to his other ankle) two years ago and it kept him out of action for six to eight weeks then. We have Dewaldt Duvenage, who can provide cover, and, of course Louis Schreuder – they know the systems and are very capable (at flyhalf). There is also Kurt Coleman and Gary van Aswegen, in the Vodacom Cup team, and we will take a look at them if need be – once they’ve both had more games under the belt.”
- Hooker Scarra Ntubeni (shoulder) returned to training on Monday, but is not taking part in all team training yet. He won’t be considered for selection as yet.
- Lock Eben Etzebeth (ankle) is set to return to training next Monday (April 1), but will be under the eye of the physios and will take part in controlled training for the first two weeks of his return. Said Coetzee: “If Eben runs comfortably (after those two weeks), then the next step is game time. I’m very positive that he will make the tour – it’s touch and go for the Sharks game before that.”
- Squad captain and flank Schalk Burger will be reassessed in two/three weeks’ time after suffering a calf muscle tear after his long-term knee injury. “If all goes well he could still make the tour, but I don’t want to put a date on it. If he can’t run flat out on the treadmill, I don’t want him on the field (yet) – I want him back at 100% and that’s what we’re ensuring. It’s frustrating, but that’s the nature of the beast.”
- Prop Deon Carstens has been battling with a back injury since his neck operation in the off-season. It is hoped that he will be in line to make his return to rugby for the DHL WP side in the Vodacom Cup (against the Border Bulldogs) next weekend. If he comes through that match, he will be available for the DHL Stormers.
Meanwhile, coach Coetzee confirmed that loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff would miss Saturday’s Super Rugby clash against the Crusaders after being suspended for one match after being cited for a transgression in the 61st minute against the Brumbies.
“The decision has been made and we need to live with it. We accept it, that’s how it goes,” he said.
“It’s a pity that Steven won’t be available for us, but we’re lucky to be able to fall back upon quality players like Pat Cilliers and Brok Harris. Pat has done well for us off the bench, and I’m more than comfortable with him at loosehead prop, and Brok performed nicely for the Vodacom Cup team at the weekend.”