Aplon may still face Crusaders

2012-04-10 10:07

Johannesburg - Wing Gio Aplon and loose-forward Nick Koster are the only two players on the doubtful list for the Stormers’ second Super Rugby tour match against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday.

Aplon sustained a hip pointer injury shortly after half-time during the Stormers’ excellent opening tour victory against the Highlanders in Dunedin at the weekend.

Coach Allister Coetzee said after the 21-6 win that the Springbok’s condition would be assessed during the week, but Aplon has let it be known via Twitter that he is recovering fast and is no longer feeling the pain that he was.

Should he miss out, however, the Stormers do have a ready replacement in the shape of former Bulls star Gerhard van den Heever, who has impressed during the time that he has been working with the Cape franchise.

Presumably JP du Plessis, the exciting young centre who returned to the Cape from Melbourne during the off-season, would then slot into Van den Heever’s place on the bench.

Koster’s readiness to play could have an impact on Coetzee’s thinking when it comes to the selection of the pack. Rynhardt Elstadt did well on the flank in his second successive outing there against the Highlanders, but there is talk of Andries Bekker perhaps getting a rest this week by playing off the bench.

If Koster is ready to take up the No8 position, Duane Vermeulen could move back to the flank and Elstadt in to partner Eben Etzebeth in the second row.

Deon Fourie also played well when he came on in the second half and might be in line for a start. Coetzee has said that he wants his freshest 22 to be up for the Crusaders match.

However, changes would be a big call for Coetzee to make after the last two wins over the Bulls and the Highlanders, particularly as this match assumes extra significance for his team.

After losing twice to Crusaders last year, once in league play and again in the semi-final, both matches at Newlands, the Stormers will want to win this one and the next game against the Reds (who also beat them at Newlands last year) to erase any thoughts of there being a psychological barrier for them to overcome after 2011.

It has been a long time since a South African team last won in Christchurch so a victory to the Stormers would be another massive step forward psychologically.

And of course there is also the not insignificant consideration of the big blow that such a result would deliver to a Crusaders team that is starting to lose too often for comfort in the early part of this Super Rugby season.


  • Lionel - 2012-04-10 10:29

    If the Stormers wanna play the same attacking game as the Saders then Aplon has to start!!!!!!

      Saffa - 2012-04-10 11:45

      They also win do they not @Bluey? That said, I would give vd Heever a start in any event. No need to rush players back onto the field like we did last season......Gerhard adds an entirely new dimension to the backline, and I doubt he will let us down.

      Saffa - 2012-04-10 11:46

      @Lionel - isn't it good to see Habana finding some form......and wasn't it pathetic to see Jannie Dup bitch slapping the Cane.

      Lionel - 2012-04-10 11:57

      Raven,thats why on the log it says under losses,Stormers 0 and Bulls 2:):):) @Saffa,its so great to see him back to almost his best,really played a big part in our win!! As for Jannie, what a chop,with the world in a recession,Jannie, being a Doc probably needs to injure his own patients:):):) for his practise:

      Lionel - 2012-04-10 12:09

      @Safa,is that Canes flyhalf not something special????.....what I like about him is that he backs himself to have a go!!!!

      Saffa - 2012-04-10 12:13

      @Lionel, that little Barret just gets better, he honestly plays like a chap wayyyyyyyyy older than what he is. I also like young Anscombe from the Blues. Kiwis have their flyhalf reserves sorted - as do we actually, if Heyneke is brave enough to give young Goosen and Jantjies a shot at some stage.

      Saffa - 2012-04-10 12:15

      @Bluey - teams that keep winning don't really need bonus points? When the Stormers drop a game or 2 - then I'll start thinking about bonus points - for now, we don't them........

      Lionel - 2012-04-10 12:18

      Raven,worry more if I were you about the Bulls making the playoffs:):):)

      Lionel - 2012-04-10 12:36

      Raven,you losing it or what???Where did I say that bonus points do not matter!!!! I would love my team to get a bonus point for 4 tries but a win is first priority!!!

      Saffa - 2012-04-10 12:39

      It just seems as though Bluey supports a Stormers fail more than he does Bulls success? I've never met a 'fail fan' before, so I find Bluey's outlook counter revolutionary. Bloodyblue agent. Lol - @Bluey, you have been waiting a mighty long time to lord it over Stormer fans this year - as things just seem to be going our way. I think Bluey will celebrate like its 1999 when the Stormers drop a game - lol.

      Saffa - 2012-04-10 13:03

      Ok've mentioned my com-pre-hen-sion skills 5 times today? It's quite possibly the right time to mention your co-mmu-ni-ca-tion skills then.......Compose your posts clearly, then I will comprehend - simple :)

  • Stormkaap - 2012-04-10 10:48

    IMO probably the best strike runner with ball in hand in SA. and punches way above his weight. Incidently, is Lambie injured?

  • Stephan - 2012-04-10 11:12

    The Stormers side is very well managed on fitness and conditioning,very few injuries and they manage their players well. If he can play he should ,if not let him loose on the Reds.

      pieterduplessis - 2012-04-10 11:18

      At least the England test would provide a nice couple weeks break for the non Springboks i.e Peter Grant. Maybe just for this test series, Heneyke, I will support you in "maak die bulle almal bokke"

  • stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-04-10 13:42

    The Stormers' strategy is working out nicely; spreading the ball but not excessively, forwards controlling and driving excellently, and superb defence!

  • Bootman - 2012-04-10 13:48

    I actually dont comprehend this whole " I support all SA teams" rubbish. The fact is I only support the Stormers and could give a flying fark about any other team. The only affinity I have for any other team is when I pick them for a win on Superbru. I really hoped the Bulls would lose on Saturday. Not only because I picked the Saders on SB, but because I would have like the Stormers to have some breathing space on the log. I dont think there is one Bull supporter who can in all honesty say that they're hoping for a Stormers win against the Saders. A loss for the Stormers would mean they catch up to us on the log.

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