Coetzee wary of injury bug

    2014-03-10 17:46
    Cape Town - Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has admitted that he may not have enough players to cover all positions affected by recent injuries.

    The Stormers suffered another injury setback following their 14-13 loss to the Crusaders in New Zealand on Saturday.

    Two tight-five forwards, hooker Scarra Ntubeni and prop Pat Cilliers, are on their way home, after lock Rynhardt Elstadt returned last week before the team's first tour match.

    Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said his resources would be stretched to the limits with three matches remaining on the Australasian tour.

    Other tight forwards who might not be fit to play this weekend were tighthead prop Frans Malherbe (toe) and lock Michael Rhodes (shoulder), both struggling to recover in time.

    "At the rate we are sending players home, we need an entire team to be on standby," Coetzee said on Monday.

    "In recent years, we've had a loose forward crisis and then in another year we lost a few flyhalves.

    "This year it looks like the turn of the locks and, to a lesser extent, the tight forwards.

    "We have a training group of 40 players and now it does not look like it is enough to cover all positions."

    On Saturday, Ntubeni tore a calf muscle and Cilliers damaged his rib cartilage.

    The two are likely to be out of action for five to six weeks.

    The exact extent of the injuries to Malherbe and Rhodes was not known on Monday and Coetzee said the picture would be clearer by Wednesday, when the players would undergo fitness tests.

    Fullback Jaco Taute came down heavily on his shoulder and was forced to leave the field in the second half against the Crusaders but the injury appeared not to be as bad as initially thought.

    Coetzee expected Taute to join Tuesday's training session and there was a chance he could be fit to play the Chiefs, in Auckland, this weekend.

    Boland tighthead prop Martin Dreyer, who joined from the Leopards at the beginning of the year, has been called up to join the Stormers, while attempts to add Griquas hooker Martin Bezuidenhout as further cover stalled as Griquas denied WP rugby's request to sign Bezuidenhout for a loan spell.

    Western Province hooker Stephan Coetzee, 22, will join the tour as a direct replacement for Ntubeni.

    The Stormers are likely to move Deon Fourie from flank to hooker but coach Coetzee said that would be a last resort.

    "For now, I'm not considering Fourie as a hooker because he's doing so well at flank," Coetzee said.

    "He has a high tackle count and his work rate is among the highest in matches."

    Coetzee said if the locks were injured in Friday's game against the Chiefs, he may be forced to use his loose forwards to do line-out duty.

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