Cape Town – There are pros and cons from a Stormers point of
view to wing speedster Seabelo Senatla’s participation in Super Rugby 2015.
On the negative side, the exciting 21-year-old misses the
great majority of their ordinary-season programme due to SA Sevens commitments,
but the rosier news for Newlands enthusiasts is that he ought to join the fray
at a key stage of their run-in, with up to four regular fixtures and then
possible involvement in the playoffs phase still ahead.
In response to inquiries this week, after Senatla’s name did
not appear among the extended pre-season squad training in Hermanus, the
Stormers issued an explanation on their Facebook page: “Seabelo is dual-contracted
to WP Rugby and SA Sevens (a unique deal) so he plays for the DHL Stormers/WP
when possible, around his SA Sevens commitments.
“In other words, this year he will rejoin us at the end of
the last IRB Sevens tournament (mid-May) until October. His aim is still to
play for the SA Sevens team until the Olympics.”
What this effectively means is that Senatla -- who got a
brief, experience-building taste of the Springboks XVs culture on the
end-of-year tour as a peripheral member of coach Heyneke Meyer’s troops – can
be written off to the Stormers until the weekend of May 22/23 at the earliest.
The last leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series is in England
on May 16 and 17.
In the following week, assuming he is ready to be
incorporated immediately into the more extended format, the Stormers are at
home to the Melbourne Rebels.
Then follow respective home games against the Cheetahs and
Lions respectively, plus a potentially pivotal away derby against the Sharks
(Saturday, June 13) preceding the finals series, for which Senatla would again
be fully available.
For the time being, then, the electric presence in the Currie
Cup-winning campaign of 2014 is an absentee, and the Stormers will seemingly
pin their faith in back three resources like Cheslin Kolbe, Jaco Taute, Kobus
van Wyk and Dillyn Leyds.
Versatile Springbok Damian de Allende can also do duty in a
wing berth, although he is more likely to fill the inside centre hole for the
Stormers left by the campaign-long absence of injured Bok captain Jean de
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