Stormers locks Eben Etzebeth, JD Schickerling and Salmaan Moerat are all in a race to be fit for their match against the Blues in Auckland on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
The Cape side lost both Schickerling and Moerat to injury during their 34-28 defeat to the Hurricanes in Wellington. Schickerling went off in the 26th minute with a shoulder injury, while his replacement, Moerat, took a blow to the head and was replaced by flank Jaco Coetzee just after half-time.
Coetzee was also forced off late in the game, which meant starting hooker Bongi Mbonambi had to come back on to the field and finish the game in the loose trio.
The three players have joined Etzebeth, still undergoing assessment after his concussion against the Jaguares, on the sidelines.
Speaking from the team’s base in Auckland, forwards coach Russell Winter confirmed they were the only injury concerns ahead of their match against the Blues.
‘JD went off quite early. Salmaan came on and then he was replaced, Jaco too,’ Winter said. ‘Salmaan and Jaco left the field due to concussion, they are being tested, but we will give them until Thursday. We are hoping they are going to come through.
‘JD has a shoulder that he has been trying to look after. We were aware of it, but it’s just one of those things that we need to manage and make sure that we make a good decision on him. It’s not as serious as we thought, but it’s a long season and we don’t want to take any chances. He is seeing a specialist tonight, and the specialist will give us feedback to see if the shoulder has not got worse.’
Winter was more positive about Etzebeth’s progress, saying he might be cleared to play after sitting out last weekend’s loss.
‘Eben looks like he is recovering and doing well. Unfortunately, he didn’t pass his concussion test last week, but it’s looking quite positive for him and we are hoping he is cleared by Thursday.
‘We have not sent anybody home and have not flown anybody in because we have depth in the squad that can fill those spaces.’
In the unlikely event that none of the players recover in time, 21-year-old Cobus Wiese and the more experienced Chris van Zyl would be the only fit locks in the squad.
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