Stormers without a host of Springboks for Lions clash

The Stormers will be without Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe and Damian Willemse for Saturday’s match against the Lions, while Herschel Jantjies is still a doubt due to illness.

Stormers captain Kitshoff, tighthead prop Malherbe and fullback Willemse will all miss the final PRO14 Rainbow Cup SA clash with the Lions in Cape Town due to Springbok resting protocol.

The trio have been involved in all five of the Stormers’ Rainbow Cup SA matches to date, with only Malherbe being named on the bench for last week’s loss to the Bulls in Pretoria.

This weekend’s match is effectively a dead rubber, as neither side will be able to qualify for the Rainbow Cup final in Treviso.

Head coach John Dobson confirmed during an online media conference on Tuesday that they intend to honour a pre-existing agreement between SA Rugby and the four franchises to manage the Springboks’ game time.

‘We are anxious to follow SA Rugby’s [protocol], so Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe and Damian Willemse, those three [won’t be available],’ Dobson said.

The Stormers coach also gave an update on scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies’ fitness, after he was substituted in the first half against the Bulls due to illness.

‘Herschel has had a break. He was ill on Friday and I am not sure he will play.’

The Stormers will also be without centre Ruhan Nel as he has travelled with the Blitzboks to Johannesburg for a training camp in a bid to make the squad for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

‘We are happy to send Ruhan back, not just because it is a dead rubber. It’s the same reason as last time. The Olympics is something that means a hell of a lot to him. Of course, we are really anxious to work closely with SA Rugby, on the PONI [players of national interest] players and on the resting protocols. Ruhan goes with our blessing. I hope he makes the Olympics. Even if we needed to win this game to get to the final in Treviso, we would have released him and respected his wishes.’

Meanwhile, Dobson confirmed that fullback Warrick Gelant may not be fit in time for their match against the British & Irish Lions on 17 July. Gelant tore his anterior cruciate ligament last December and had to undergo surgery, which has since kept him off the field.

‘He is touch and go for the British & Irish Lions, which is on 17 July. That is four Currie Cup games in. So, he won’t play those games,’ Dobson said.

‘A provincial treasure like Warrick, the Lions game will be up to him. If he wants to be a part of that, or be more conservative, given how traumatic an injury it has been. But he will miss at least the first four Currie Cup games.’

Photo: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images

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Dylan Jack