Grant's injury a huge blow
Gavin Rich - SuperSport
Johannesburg - DHL Stormers flyhalf Peter Grant's withdrawal from the squad to take on the MTN Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday should not sit comfortably with Stormers fans who want to see their team bounce back from defeat with a resounding victory.
The Stormers should still be favoured to win, but it is not nearly as cut and dried now as it was before Grant was forced to pull out with a knee injury sustained in training earlier in the week.
The decision to withdraw Grant from the team for the match was taken on Thursday afternoon after Grant failed to show sufficient recovery from the bump he received on Tuesday.
Grant has been in outstanding form for the Stormers this season, so while his replacement Gary van Aswegen is a capable player, the first choice will be missed.
Grant has played a big part in most of what has gone right for the Stormers since he came onto the field with 20 minutes remaining against the Lions in the opening match of the competition at Newlands.
Van Aswegen was the player that Grant came on for, and although the youngster had not let himself or the team down to that point, there was a dramatic change in the Stormers' fortunes once the regular flyhalf, who played off the bench in that game because he had just returned from Japan, came onto the field.
The one point in the Stormers' favour for this game though, is that at least Van Aswegen has had plenty of opportunity to run with the side in training as he has been a reserve for much of the season and as such he has spent a lot of time running with the team and getting acquainted with the moves.
He has been training as the Stormers flyhalf ever since Grant was injured on Tuesday.
Lionel Cronje, who comes in on the bench, is also no stranger to the Stormers' system and is able to play at flyhalf or fullback.
However, the Stormers have struggled to get their attacking game going this season partly because the backline was just settling again due to Grant's off-season absence, so Grant's withdrawal won't do wonders for the team's synchronisation on attack.
Grant being ruled out means the Stormers have effectively now had six changes made to the side that was selected for the match against the Reds last week.
Jean de Villiers, who was ruled out on the eve of that match with a groin injury, is still out, as are Bryan Habana and Rynhardt Elstadt.
15 Michael Killian, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Doppies La Grange (captain), 11 Deon van Rensburg, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Warren Whitely, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 David de Villiers, 4 Wikus van Heerden, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Patric Cilliers, 18 Franco van der Merwe, 19 Dries van Schalkwyk, 20 Rory Kockott, 21 Elton Jantjies, 22 Jaco Taute
15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Danie Poolman, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Gio Aplon, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Schalk Burger (captain), 5 Andries Bekker, 4 De Kock Steenkamp, 3 CJ van der Linde, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Wicus Blaauw
Substitutes: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Anton van Zyl, 19 Nick Koster, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Lionel Cronje, 22 Johann Sadie