Loosie misery for Stormers
Cape Town - The Stormers could go into the Super Rugby playoffs without the services of loose forwards Duane Vermeulen
, Schalk Burger
, Nick Koster and Canadian recruit Jebb Sinclair.
Vermeulen, Burger and Koster have all been sidelined with knee injuries this season which left the Cape side severely depleted at loose forward.
Coach Allister Coetzee
earlier hoped the trio would be ready for the playoffs but according to Die Burger
, Vermeulen is the only one that may be considered.
"The three of them will get a more decisive answer from the doctor on Monday but we don't have much hope for Schalk and Nick playing in the competition again. We're more positive about Duane but he's definitely not ready to play on Saturday," said Coetzee.
The Stormers were also dealt a further blow on Monday when SANZAR ruled against their request to allow Sinclair to play in the knockout phases. Sinclair was only contracted after the season had started due to the injury crisis and is not allowed to play in the playoffs, according to SANZAR's regulations.
Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth
(ankle) is also still sidelined for this weekend's last round-robin clash against the Rebels but according to Coetzee will be ready for the playoffs.
The Stormers have already clinched the South African Conference but could also top the overall standings if they beat the Rebels and the table-topping Chiefs stumble against the Hurricanes in Wellington.
Should the Chiefs beat the Hurricanes but fail to gain a four-try bonus point, the Stormers will top the log if they claim five points at Newlands on Saturday. However, that could be a tall ask as the Capetonians have failed to score a four-try bonus point in any of their games this season, despite winning 13 of 15 games.
The clash at Newlands kicks off at 15:00 on Saturday.