Jean to reach milestone
By Stephen Nell - Die Burger
Cape Town – Jean de Villiers is facing a serious test of his abilities in his 50th game for the Stormers on Saturday, with the Crusaders set to have All Black centre Casey Laulala available for selection for the Super14 clash in Christchurch.
Laulala scored four tries in the first three games of the Crusaders’ campaign. He injured his shoulder in their 24-30 defeat to the Hurricanes and has missed subsequent games against the Highlanders, Western Force and Waratahs.
The only player to have scored more tries in this year’s Super14 is Sharks wing JP Pietersen, whose tally stands at 5.
It has been reported in New Zealand that Laulala may be available for the clash against the Stormers. The Crusaders announce their side on Thursday.
“Casey was very good in the first three games. He was one of the form centres in the Super14. It will give the Crusaders a lot of confidence to have such an experienced player in their ranks,” said De Villiers.
Laulala has played 59 games for the Crusaders and is very dangerous from broken play.
Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus has warned this week that the Super14 champions score many tries off turnover possession.
The Stormers can therefore not afford handling errors and aimless kicks.
De Villiers, who made his Stormers debut in 2005, will again be a key player in his 50th game for the side he captains.
“To date in this campaign we have not been able to pull off successive wins. It will be fantastic if we can beat the Crusaders, but that is easier said than done,” he said.
De Villiers’s value was underlined when the Stormers lost the plot completely without him when he was injured against the Sharks.
He may be without his beloved No 12 jersey against the Crusaders because Peter Grant has been picked as inside centre.
De Villiers’s usual centre partner, Gcobani Bobo, is helping out on the right wing.
Nick Koster, who started in the No 14 jersey in the Stormers’ last game against the Lions, has been sidelined for six months after sustaining a serious knee injury.