Duane out of Brumbies clash
Cape Town - Stormers captain Duane Vermeulen has been ruled out of Saturday's Super Rugby qualifier against the Brumbies due to a neck injury.
Vermeulen missed the Stormers' last two games and it was hoped that he would be ready to face the Brumbies.
However, he was not cleared for Saturday's match against the men from Canberra.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee confirmed the news on Monday from Stellenbosch, and said that he was hopeful that Vermeulen would be available should the Stormers progress to the semi-finals.
"Duane is improving a hell of a lot but I don’t think it’s enough for this weekend. Rule him out for this weekend’s game. Going forward hopefully there’s still a great opportunity for him," Coetzee said.
"It’s just about getting Duane to be pain free and his range. There’s a hell of a lot of improvement in terms of his range, so it’s coming along nicely.
"If you look at another week or two, then who knows, but one wants to be absolutely sure. You don’t want to put him back again if he gets another knock. So the decision is based on making sure that Duane will continue once he starts again."
Coetzee added that he could not say with certainty when Vermeulen would be back, and acknowledged the chance that he would not feature again this Super Rugby season.
"As soon as he’s pain free he’ll start with his cardio
sessions again, so we can see if he runs without discomfort. Obviously then it
would move into a contact situation," said Coetzee.
"It could take three or four days … once there’s no pain and
there’s full range … the next step will be on the field and a contact situation.
"The big thing is to make sure the player is mentally
comfortable with the situation."
Coetzee is also aware of Vermeulen's mindset and his willingness to play through the pain barrier.
"That is why we have to get the
balance right because he will want to play, but you just need to make sure and
with the help of the medical team look out for the safety of the player."
Should the Stormers beat the Brumbies at Newlands, they would travel to Sydney to face the Waratahs in the semi-finals.
Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:05.