Stormers wait on injured trio
Cape Town - The fitness of Peter Grant, Dewaldt Duvenage and CJ van der Linde will be high on the list of priorities for Stormers coach Allister Coetzee when he drives into the Western Province Rugby Union's High Performance Centre in Bellville on Monday.
While the Stormers performed superbly without the trio in Saturday's runaway 40-3 win
over the Melbourne Rebels, they could offer the Cape side a crucial injection of experience in key positions for Saturday's Super Rugby match against the Bulls at Newlands.
"They are responding well to treatment, but we will assess the players on Monday and know then," Coetzee said at the weekend before the Stormers embarked on their journey home.
Van der Linde sustained a hip injury in the 37th minute of the Stormers' game against the Blues. The prop was sent home in the hope that he would recover in time for the derby games against the Bulls and Cheetahs.
Wicus Blaauw and Brok Harris were the props in the starting line-up for the matches against the Brumbies and Rebels, with Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe taking turns as substitutes.
However, there will be a lot of value in picking an experienced bench for the Bulls game as the champion team's reserve strength is always a part of their onslaught as well.
Duvenage injured his ankle and a toe against the Brumbies, while Grant already injured his ankle in the first tour game against the Chiefs.
Kurt Coleman performed very well at flyhalf on Friday, but the Stormers will feel more comfortable against the Bulls if Grant is able to return at No 10.
Newlands is already a sell-out and will be a pressure-cooker, and the cool head of an experienced general who has stood the test of time is precisely what the home side needs.
The skills that Coleman displayed against the Rebels also point to him being a potentially good impact player.
It could probably be taken as a given that Andries Bekker will return to the Stormers' starting line-up. His duel with Bulls captain and Springbok lineout supremo Victor Matfield is set to be a major talking point again this week.
As usual, there is no better measure than a game against the Bulls.