Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Cape Town – If it is any consolation for the slightly beleaguered
Stormers, their Super Rugby opponents on Friday have also been forced into some
hurried, makeshift plans for their backline.
Hot on the heels of Springbok Jean de Villiers suddenly
being ruled out for weeks with a wrist injury, a big blow for the strategic
shape of the high-riding South Africans, defending champions the Reds had a
setback of their own on Tuesday when outside centre Aidan Toua reportedly pulled
a hamstring in training.
So just as the Stormers have had to improvise by asking
back-in-form left wing Bryan Habana to do duty at outside centre with Juan de
Jongh shifting to No 12, the Reds will shuffle their cards a bit to adapt to
Promising inside centre Ben Tapuai, who went on the
Wallabies’ short end-of-year tour to the UK in 2011, is expected to shift
outside, putting him head to head with Habana, with goal-kicker Mike Harris
making his own comeback from a month on the sidelines by wearing the No 12
Harris had earlier been tipped to play flyhalf, but if he is
now asked to patrol the midfield instead it could mean that Bishops-educated Sam Lane, 21, familiar to some of the Stormers players, retains his berth at No
10 after making a decent debut against the Brumbies almost a fortnight back.
The Reds are still awaiting the return to combat of their
key flyhalf string-puller Quade Cooper, who has been absent from all rugby
since the tail-end of the World Cup but expected to be ready to start again