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    Stormers out to fill hooker gap

    2013-01-24 09:18
    Martin Bezuidenhout (Gallo Images)
    Cape Town - While Stormers coach Allister Coetzee is yet to reveal the names of possible No 2s the Cape side are targeting, a report on Die Burger's website indicates that Lions hooker Martin Bezuidenhout may be in their sights.

    Injuries to Tiaan Liebenberg and Scarra Ntubeni have left the Stormers depleted at hooker, with Coetzee reportedly interested in attaining the services of a local No 2 on loan.

    Coetzee revealed on Wednesday that 21-year-old Ntubeni underwent an operation to repair his injured shoulder and that he would be out of action until mid-April.

    "It was decided, after a second opinion, that it would be best for Scarra to undergo an operation," he told the Stormers website.

    "He should be good to go by mid-April, which means he could still make the tour (of Australasia) if all goes well."

    Liebenberg continues to make good progress from his back injury. "Conservatively, Tiaan should be ready by the third week of Super Rugby. He did some training with us in Hermanus, but, like I said, I'm being conservative at this stage by saying the third week.

    "At this stage I'd say he's at about 60/70%, but he needs to get his conditioning up to speed. You cannot just step in and play Super Rugby after a lay-off, he's a bit behind the other guys in that regard."

    With Currie Cup-winning captain Deon Fourie the only fit and experienced hooker at Coetzee's disposal at present, he admitted that they were looking outside the region for a battle-hardened No 2.

    "We are talking to three possible hookers. As soon as something is finalised with one of those players, all of whom are South African-based players, we will announce it - as we normally do."

    Coetzee also dismissed a report that former Bok captain John Smit is in their sights.

    "I can tell you that John Smit is definitely not one of those players we are talking to!" he said.

    And Die Burger reports that the 23-year-old Bezuidenhout may be an option. He has Super Rugby experience and with his team not playing Super Rugby a short-term move could be beneficial for his career.

    Bezuidenhout has been part of the Golden Lions' systems since 2008.

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