Injuries have hampered Stormers, Wakefield admits
Cape Town - WP Rugby president Thelo Wakefield says injuries have played a role in the Stormers’ performances in Super Rugby this year.
Wakefield on Monday held "open discussions" with Stormers coach Robbie Fleck and director of rugby Gert Smal regarding the team’s woeful performances of late.
It followed the Stormers’ eight-try 52-31 hammering at the hands of the Lions in Johannesburg this past weekend.
The Stormers are yet to record an away victory in the competition this year and have won only three of eight matches.
Wakefield told Netwerk24 that it was a “very long meeting without emotion”.
“We identified areas in our game that need serious attention, but what became clear was that injuries to key players played a big role.”
Wakefield said the absence of players like lock Eben Etzebeth (arm), prop Frans Malherbe (neck) and hooker Bongi Mbonambi (burst appendix) had halted the Stormers’ progress.
“It limits the coach’s choices and it means that the (rest of) the players have to play every week. Wilco Louw is a good example of a player that is not getting rest. On paper and in key positions we’re a very young team.”
Wakefield added that he has faith in the ability of the coaching staff to resurrect matters.
Last Saturday’s loss at Ellis Park left the Stormers 12 points adrift of the Lions in the South African Conference.
They have a bye this weekend before facing the Sharks in Durban on April 21.
After that, the Capetonians will enjoy playing four of five games at home.