Cape Town - Stormers eighthman Duane Vermeulen's absence has put the spotlight firmly on loose forward Nick Koster, who came on as a replacement in Saturday's derby against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
And Stormers coach Allister Coetzee is confident that the youngster will fill Vermeulen's shoes with aplomb.
"We are fortunate that we can call on a player like Nick, who brings a new dimension to our attack," said Coetzee. "It's a great opportunity for Nick to play in the starting fifteen again. I don't know at this stage who will be our back-up loose forward but there are options such as playing Andries Bekker (lock) as a flank and then bringing in Anton van Zyl," said Coetzee.
Vermeulen's injury will require an operation and comes at a time when he has just been named in the 49-man provisional Springbok squad.
Coetzee did, however, note that Vermeulen's abscence will be a big blow to his team.
will undergo an operation on Tuesday.
"It should put him out of action for six to nine weeks and
then he has to start the rehab process.
"Duane is very strong and I'm sure he'll heal faster because of his superb fitness, so he might be back sooner.
"Duane's abrasive and gives us a line-out option. He's been strong on defence and we'll miss him a great deal."
The Stormers camp will also be without scrumhalf Ricky Januarie and flyhalf Kurt Coleman for four weeks because of injuries.
Prop CJ Van der Linde is back in training but it is not certain whether he'll be match-fit for the Newlands semi-final in a fortnight's time.
"This week we'll run CJ really hard to see how well he's recovered," said Coetzee.
"By Friday we'll make a call although we realise that he will lack match fitness.
"It's really touch-and-go for CJ but one's thing's sure - we won't pick him for the semifinal if he is unable to play for 80 minutes."
Apart from the players who are returning from injury and are in rehabilitation programmes, the Stormers squad will have a complete break this week.