Bekker's Stormers career over?
Cape Town - Star lock Andries Bekker may have played his last match for the Stormers after it was disclosed that he'll be out for up to eight weeks, reports the supersport.com website
Bekker, who has been in excellent form this season, leaves for Japan at the end of the Vodacom Super Rugby season, and if the Stormers don’t make the play-offs, that means it will be touch and go whether he will be back in time for the last game against the Bulls at Newlands on July 13.
According to Stormers coach Allister Coetzee, Bekker’s injury was picked up on an MRI scan after the defeat to the Rebels
at the weekend.
Coetzee is now having to hurriedly rejig his second row
resources ahead of Saturday’s Newlands clash with the Reds.
A few weeks ago he had an embarrassment of riches as Eben Etzebeth returned from injury at the same time as Bekker and De Kock Steenkamp were playing so well. At that stage Rynhardt Elstadt was also in the mix, for although playing these days as a loose-forward, he has excelled as a lock in the past.
However, Elstadt is out injured, and so now are Bekker and Steenkamp, with the latter now not due to be back in action this week as anticipated.
That has necessitated an SOS call
to the experienced Marius Coetzer, who has played many first class games spread across the Lions and Pumas.
“He is an experienced player who has played more than 100 first class games and we are going to need him because we already have our reserve lock playing on Saturday now,” said Coetzee.
Gerbrandt Grobler will start against the Reds alongside Etzebeth in a pack that has been completely reworked since the last game against the Rebels.
Deon Fourie is out until after the June international window with broken ribs, while both tightheads who did duty against the Rebels, Pat Cilliers and Frans Malherbe, have been ruled out.
Cilliers has an ankle injury while Malberbe has torn a ligament on his ankle, an injury that was only picked up after the Stormers returned home from Australia.
“Frans flew home with the injury from Australia without knowing about it. We have only picked it up since we returned. He will be out for at least 10 weeks as he gets operated on tomorrow (Wednesday),” said Coetzee after a Stormers training session on Tuesday.
“As you know, Andries has had problems with his back in the past. This time though it is a disc in the lower part of his back that is giving him trouble. He will be out for a minimum of six weeks. These injuries are all massive complications for us as it disrupts continuity and we have several new combinations playing for us now, but at the same time new players bring energy and we felt it in training this afternoon.”
Other players missing who did duty for the Stormers towards the end of their tour are Juan de Jongh and Scarra Ntubeni.
The Stormers team that will be named on Wednesday will have a completely new look to it, with only Tiaan Liebenberg’s return from a long injury lay-off offering something on the positive side of the balance sheet.
“Tiaan brings experience and it was good to hear his voice again at training today,” said the coach.