Damian Willemse and Eben Etzebeth have been ruled out for the rest of the Stormers’ campaign, and are in danger of missing the start of the Rugby Championship. JON CARDINELLI reports.
The Stormers have been hammered by injuries to senior players in the past few weeks. Springboks Siya Kolisi (knee), Pieter-Steph du Toit (shoulder), Skihumbuzo Notshe (ankle) and Etzebeth (hand) are among a host of players who won’t be back for the Cape franchise this season.
Coach Robbie Fleck cut a dejected figure at a press conference at Newlands on Thursday when he confirmed that Willemse – who played flyhalf and fullback for the Boks last season – has been sidelined for four weeks with a knee injury.
‘Damian will be out for up to month,’ said Fleck. ‘He’s going for a second opinion, though.
‘I think he should be fine [in terms of returning ahead of the Rugby Championship and ultimately the World Cup], but he definitely won’t be back for us this season.’
Fleck also confirmed that Etzebeth will be sidelined for six weeks with a hand injury. Notshe was seen on crutches on Thursday, and will be out for anything between four and six weeks.
Damian de Allende, another Bok, won’t be available for the game against the Sunwolves this Saturday due to the Boks’ resting protocol. The centre will be back for the final conference stage match against the Sharks next week.
Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix