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    Stormers fail to sign hooker

    2014-03-10 18:38
    Martin Bezuidenhout (Gallo Images)
    Cape Town - While the Stormers have flown out WP hooker Stephan Coetzee, they have failed to secure the services of Griquas' Martin Bezuidenhout.

    According to iamastormer.com, Coetzee will link up with the Stormers squad in New Zealand as front-row injury-cover, ahead of their second Super Rugby tour match against the Chiefs on Friday.

    Coetzee – who will replace injured hooker Scarra Ntubeni in the Stormers touring squad – will be joined on the flight to Auckland by Boland Cavaliers prop Martin Dreyer, the latter having been called up to replace prop Pat Cilliers.

    Ntubeni suffered a calf muscle tear in Saturday’s heart-breaking one-point defeat to the Crusaders in Christchurch and could be sidelined for five weeks, whilst Cilliers fractured rib cartilage at the weekend. Cilliers could be out of action for up to six weeks.

    Stormers management had initially requested to have Martin Bezuidenhout released from Griquas on a loan spell as Ntubeni’s replacement at hooker, but that request was denied by the Kimberley-based union.

    "Martin Bezuidenhout was part of our squad last season, so he knows the systems well, whereas calling up Stephan Coetzee leaves a big hole in the Western Province Vodacom Cup team," Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said.

    "But, that said, Stephan deserves this opportunity.

    He is a young player with plenty of potential and he trained with the Currie Cup team last year, so he’s known to all.

    "We look forward to his arrival, along with that of Martin Dreyer, as we continued to work towards Friday’s game against the Chiefs."

    Front row forwards Stephan Coetzee and Martin Dreyer ironically played against each other in a Vodacom Cup match at City Park on Saturday, a game won 16-8 by WP, but they will now board the same plane on Tuesday en route for Sydney and then Auckland as Stormers squad mates.

    Coetzee, 22, has played for Western Province at every level since his Under-16 days as a Paarl Boys’ High School scholar and has played nine matches for the WP Vodacom Cup team (since last year).

    The robust hooker will join up with some of his title-winning WP Under-21 teammates from last year when he arrives in New Zealand – prop Oliver Kebble, lock Ruan Botha and wing Kobus van Wyk, as well as utility forward Jurie van Vuuren, who flew to New Zealand at the weekend as a replacement for Rynhardt Elstadt.

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