Coetzee to make Senatla call
Cape Town - Stormers coach Allister Coetzee is set to meet with returning Blitzbok star Seabelo Senatla on Tuesday before officially ruling him out of consideration for Saturday’s important Super Rugby clash with the Rebels at Newlands.
The supersport.com website reports that Senatla was part of the national sevens squad that ended second in the recent HSBC World Series, and is expected back in the country on Tuesday after competing in tournaments in Scotland and London over the past two weekends.
Coetzee is eager to engage Senatla in the business end of the Super Rugby season, and is working with Western Province director of rugby Gert Smal in trying to establish what the protocols are regarding Senatla’s availability for the play-offs.
According to the official SANZAR ruling a new player has to play four league matches before qualifying to play in the Finals Series.
With the Stormers having four more league matches left on their schedule, that would mean Senatla has to play against the Rebels.
However as Senatla was on the Stormers squad list at the start of the season, Coetzee believes there could be some leeway, and that was what he was trying to establish.
Coetzee is reluctant to push Senatla into action in the match against the Rebels as the Blitzbokke medical staff have advised the Stormers doctor that he is suffering from a slight hemaetoma on a thigh muscle.
"The call on Seabelo will be a medical call," said Coetzee on Monday afternoon.
"At the moment I don’t know his mental or physical state.
"I haven’t spoken to him. I will meet with him and discuss it with him tomorrow (Tuesday) once he has arrived back in Cape Town.
"Ideally I would like to give him off until next week, offer him a rest chance.
"But we would like him to be available for the knock-outs. I don’t want to push him into action if he is injured, so we need to find out what the SANZAR requirements are.
"What I can say is that if he is not the full Seabelo, in other words if he is only 80% fit and is carrying an injury, then I can’t consider him regardless of how much I might want to.
"Of course it would be nice to have his X-factor available to us if he is fit, so if when I meet with him he convinces me he is 100% and is eager to play, then there is an outside chance he could be considered for the Rebels game.
"It would all depend on our conversation tomorrow.
"In the meantime Gert is trying to establish exactly what the SANZAR requirements are.
"Seabelo isn't a new player who played for another 15-man team while the Super Rugby season was going. He was playing for the national sevens team. That might make a difference."
Coetzee said there was no doubt about Senatla’s fitness to play 80 minutes of rugby, it just hinged on whether he was carrying any kind of injury, and whether he was mentally ready to be drafted straight back into the Super Rugby environment.
Senatla was a key member of the WP team that won the Currie Cup last year but he holds a dual contract with WP and SA Rugby and is committed to playing for the national sevens team through until the 2016 Olympics in Rio.