John Dobson has confirmed that Sergeal Petersen will replace the injured Leolin Zas when the Stormers face the Vodacom Bulls in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship final in Cape Town on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
It was confirmed on Wednesday that Zas will go under the knife on the ankle injury he sustained in the first half of the semi-final victory over Edinburgh. The recovery period is expected to keep him on the sidelines for around three months and will certainly rule him out of any sort of miraculous return for Saturday’s grand final.
Zas’ absence robs the Stormers of their top try-scorer, leaving the Capetonians with a bit of a conundrum as to who to play on the wing against the Bulls.
In terms of replacements, the Stormers will be looking to either Blitzbok star Angelo Davids or the more experienced Sergeal Petersen, who have most recently been playing in the Currie Cup for Western Province this season.
However, when asked about the situation during a media conference on Wednesday, Dobson made it clear who the Stormers would pick as their left wing.
“I don’t want to play any games. Sergeal will play on the wing this weekend,” Dobson said.
Dobson explained that Petersen would offer fullback Warrick Gelant a bit more security at the back, especially as the Bulls have not been shy of putting boot to ball in the regular season.
“I had a chat with Warrick about that on the field. Leolin is physical and an out-and-out striker, which is what you need from a wing. Sergeal is a bit different. Warrick likes playing alongside Sergeal because if you are a striking wing, you don’t have time to make decisions or communicate like Sergeal does.
“What is good for me is that they are both very good under the high ball. You have a guy now with Warrick who communicates. Warrick can pass to him and let Sergeal make a decision. Sergeal can also produce the odd X-factor magic.
“So, they are very different players. But I don’t think it will have much of an influence on the set-up of the team.”
Petersen was the Stormers’ go-to wing, until Zas produced a magnificent display against Zebre in a 55-7 win in Stellenbosch, which had Zas leapfrogging his way into the starting lineup.
“We gave Zas that game against Zebre and he was outstanding. Sergeal was pretty much a regular until then,” said Dobson. “Sergeal did struggle a bit when he started in the Currie Cup, it’s not nice to be dropped or left out. But he was outstanding in Stellenbosch on Friday.”
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