Jean out of Cheetahs clash
Johannesburg - Stormers and Springbok captain Jean de Villiers has finally been forced to pay for all the non-stop rugby he has played recently by being forced out of Saturday’s plum Vodacom Super Rugby derby at Newlands.
According to the supersport.com website, the Cheetahs are coming to town needing to win against the Stormers if they want to maintain their strong challenge for a place in the top six and thus qualify for a place in the extended play-offs, as well as maintain the slight pressure they are currently exerting on the Vodacom Bulls in the race for the South African conference title.
The latter seems done and dusted, but there is still plenty for the Cheetahs to play for, and they should be pleased that they will be running into the Stormers without their skipper and inside centre, who has been in excellent form both in Super Rugby and at international level this season.
De Villiers was doubtful for most of last week with an injured sternum and that is what has ruled him out of Saturday’s game.
Although De Villiers has repeatedly been doubtful for games recently, he has come through fitness tests at the 11th hour to take his place.
Two other Stormers Boks, Eben Etzebeth and Siya Kolisi, did not train as a severe cold front swept into Cape Town on Monday, but both are available for selection and should be in the side to face the Cheetahs, who include several players who have established themselves at international level over the past few weeks.
They include the sublimely skilled former Bolander Willie le Roux as well as prop Trevor Nyakane, while Adriaan Strauss, the Cheetahs captain, has continued to grow in stature in Bok clothing.
The Stormers' injury list remains an extensive one with both Pat Cilliers and Rynhardt Elstadt still out this week.
They may both be back for the trip to Port Elizabeth to play the Kings the following weekend, but unfortunately Duane Vermeulen (knee) and Peter Grant (ankle and shoulder) have been ruled out of the rest of the Super Rugby season.