Early Stormers knocks at No 2

2013-01-11 15:13

Cape Town – What would a Stormers campaign in, or at least approaching, Super Rugby be without an injury epidemic in a particular position?

This time hooker appears to be the target of a mini-hoodoo, although with several weeks remaining to the start of the competition-proper, coach Allister Coetzee is taking the setback fairly comfortably in his stride.

The defending SA conference champions are well-versed in flyhalves dropping like flies, and last season loose forward was a special area of predicament at times – they lost captain Schalk Burger for the remainder of the year very early on in their campaign, against the Hurricanes at Newlands, and then all of Duane Vermeulen, Siya Kolisi, Rynhardt Elstadt and Nizaam Carr were gradually sidelined for lengthy periods as the 2012 season progressed.

Things look immeasurably rosier in that department as the 2013 slog beckons, with all of the above stars named in a 36-strong party for a pre-season camp in Hermanus next week.

Bu now there is a hiccup at No 2: likely first-choice Tiaan Liebenberg, who is also arguably their best hooker from a scrummaging point of view, is still in recovery mode – albeit well advanced – from a back injury the Springbok sustained in October.

The situation was aggravated earlier this week when Scarra Ntubeni, the mobile young customer who shone in the Currie Cup-winning campaign, experienced what Coetzee on Friday branded a “freak shoulder accident” at training.

“He fell over and someone then landed on top of him,” the coach explained at a media briefing.

“He will be re-assessed after four weeks ... so hopefully no need for an operation.”

Liebenberg is touch-and-go to start the Super Rugby campaign and unlikely to see service, as a result, in either pre-season friendly against the Cheetahs (Bloemfontein, February 2) and Boland Cavaliers (Wellington, February 9).

“Tiaan is going on camp; he can do static stuff like lineout throwing, although no contact yet, and we hope to have him ready for the first game (away to the Bulls on February 22).

“That is a not too conservative (expectation) ... if I am going to be conservative I would say it could be second or third round of the competition.”

Coetzee confirmed that this left ever-useful utility forward Deon Fourie as “the only hooker standing” at present.

“No thoughts of open-side flank for him right now,” he told Sport24. “But we are also still a few weeks away from selection matters in (Super Rugby itself).”

As a precaution, the Stormers have already begun scouring the landscape for a temporary, standby hooker.

“We are looking at getting a hooker from outside; we do need an extra one now, although I’m not ready to announce anything yet.”

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing


  • sean.bagley.50 - 2013-01-11 15:31

    Deon Fourie has got time on his side in aiming for bigger things,i.e.,a Springbok call up.He had some really great performances for the Stormers recently even when playing 2nd fiddle in most of them not being the out-and-out no 2 that is.Also being leapfrogged a number of times by overseas based players in Bismarck's absence for the Springbok no 2 jersey ain't pretty to watch either.The same can be said of the flanker position where Kolisi,Louw,Daniels,Alberts,Potgieter were all ahead of Fourie in the pecking order.Also Burger,Brussouw and Juan Smith making come backs from injuries it's not getting any easier for the lad.Let's see how he gets on this year in all competitions and where he's at when our 1st test match comes along.

  • braam.groenewald.39 - 2013-01-11 15:31

    snaaks hoe die WP kapein fourie, wat die curie cup gewen het laasjaar nie eers kan span kry in super rugby nie

      jacobus.rautenbach - 2013-01-11 16:57

      ek dink jy moet dokter toe gaan en jou nuus dophou

      craven.luyt - 2013-01-12 22:03

      Snaaks dat jy nie sy naam in die berig gesien her nie! Jy moet die spirits deur brood gooi, daai pers goed maak n ou blind.

  • graham.v.ferreira - 2013-01-11 16:09

    Braam het jy ooit skool toe gegaan. Jy kan glad nie Afrikaans skryf nie. Wat presies is jou punt?

  • grant.butler.104 - 2013-01-11 16:28

    Come on Stormers....go fetch Schalk Brits!

      jacobus.rautenbach - 2013-01-11 16:58

      ek stemmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  • praben.manuel - 2013-01-11 21:37

    Dit lyk asof coetzee nog jong haker uit die hoet moet trek

  • shaun.d.corrigan - 2013-01-11 23:24

    Derek Asbun ... US Eagles hooker/flank is in the Cape!

  • chris.holtshausen - 2013-01-12 13:58

    As ek vrye teuels sou he en enige drie spelers kon byvoeg om hierdie groep te versterk sou ek gaan vir Bismarck du Plessis, Coenie Oosthuizen en Francois Louw!!!

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