John Dobson has confirmed that Seabelo Senatla will not take to the field for the Stormers in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship quarter-final after the winger was involved in a car accident on Thursday night. DYLAN JACK reports.
Senatla was a notable exclusion after Dobson on Friday named the side that will face the Vodacom Bulls in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship at a packed DHL Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Instead, it will be the returning Leolin Zas, last season’s top try-scorer, who dons the No 11 jersey in his first game back from injury. When asked about Senatla’s status, Dobson confirmed that the winger was involved in a car accident on Thursday.
“Seabelo was in a car accident. He is ok,” said Dobson. “It happened yesterday evening. He is in no shape to play rugby. It will be better if he can spend time with his family.”
The Stormers have not named an out-and-out wing on the bench and Dobson said that Springbok fullback Damian Willemse will be the primary option to move out wide if something happens during the game.
“Actually, the guy who can go there is Damian. I think he has played Test rugby on the wing. He has been moved there during a Test match. So Damian is an option and so is Paul [de Wet] as the two covers and then, thirdly, Hacjivah [Dayimani].
“It’s not ideal, but with Suleiman [Hartzenberg] out and by the time the [Senatla] news was filtering in, the Currie Cup team had a flight to Bloem at around 6.30pm. So it just seemed right to go back to a six-two split and have one of those guys covering.”
When asked about Zas’ fitness, given that he has not played since January, Dobson said that he was confident the winger would make a positive impact on his return.
“It is going to be a challenge. There are a couple of factors there. When you look at the length of the break. We could have played him last week in the Currie Cup, but with the field and when you see guys going down with cramps. That’s been the challenge for him. I will be surprised if he gets to 80 [minutes], he will have done well.
“He is fit and strong and has trained. I am just not sure if we will get 80 minutes out of him. It depends on what the game looks like. He will probably be fine for the aerial battle and he will have to make a few chases. Those guys, their distance can vary per game from 6km and 8km. So we will just keep an eye on his GPS and see how it goes.”
The @BlueBullsRugby have never beaten the Stormers in the @Vodacom #URC, and it's going to stay that way when they collide in the quarter-final at DHL Stadium, according to @mark_keohane and Zels. pic.twitter.com/D0L9lXKKF5
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) May 5, 2023
Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix