Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Cape Town - It would be rather more inconvenient if it happened on Saturday, but the Stormers’ Canadian loose forward acquisition Jebb Sinclair had a problem on Wednesday finding Newlands rugby stadium.
His misfortune was understandable, considering that the on-loan player from London Irish has been in the Cape for barely a week and sampled the ground only once previously, but he will certainly need to have his geographical bearings right this weekend - he makes his first start in Super Rugby against the Waratahs (kickoff 19:10) after getting almost an hour off the bench through necessity against the Cheetahs.
“In terms of fitting in with us, he’s really a fantastic bloke,” explained coach Allister Coetzee
“So it was good fun when he was late for our team meeting this morning ... because he’d got lost en route.
“We’d started at the High Performance Centre (in Bellville) for gym work and then we all headed in cars for Newlands to train; Jebb was following some of the guys and somehow went astray!”
It was tempting to ask Coetzee whether Sinclair had inadvertently headed for Cape Town Stadium, the venue linked with a possible move by WP Rugby down the line and prominent landmark these days when you head towards town on the N1, but he assured that the player was well aware of the gravitas associated with Newlands.
“It says much about his personality that he isn’t overawed by playing in front of 40 000-plus people ... something he probably doesn’t do that often. He’s coping well in our fold.
“He’s still getting used to our structures, obviously. There’s a lot of fine detail that goes into planning and preparation, so it’s unfair to expect Jebb Sinclair to suddenly become Duane Vermeulen
or Nick Koster.
“But he’s doing well. He’s a clever rugby player; he’s lineout-intelligent and becomes a good option for us there.”
Considering the Stormers’ problem with scoring prolific amounts of tries per match, was Coetzee rueing, nevertheless, surrendering the pace and flair offered by now-injured No 8 Nizaam Carr?
“Yes, obviously it was a bit of a setback in terms of his (encouraging) development. He’d had a good start against the Force.
“He came into a wet game there, and nevertheless showed up well, so it would have been nice to see the speed he offers in perfect conditions some time, too ... I know you all want to see us score more tries, which is our intention whenever possible, but there was nothing we could do about the rain in Perth, for example.”*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing