The Stormers will be without Eben Etzebeth, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Dan du Plessis for their clash against the Reds in Brisbane on Friday. DYLAN JACK reports.
Etzebeth and Du Plessis both picked up knocks in the team’s 24-9 loss to the Blues in Auckland last weekend, and since they will be unavailable for at least the remaining tour games against the Reds and Rebels, the duo has flown home.
The uninjured Du Toit has returned to South Africa on compassionate leave for the birth of his son and will therefore also not be available this Friday.
As a result, the Stormers have called up Du Toit’s younger brother Johan and 21-year-old Ernst van Rhyn, who was set to play for Maties in the Varsity Cup on Monday (Kobus van Dyk flew over last week for JD Schickerling, who is still struggling with a shoulder issue). Seabelo Senatla will fly out to Australia as cover for Du Plessis.
It presents a chance for Senatla to restart what has, up to this point, been a stuttering fifteens career since making the switch from sevens.
‘We know what Seabelo brings in terms of his pace and X-factor,’ said Stormers assistant coach Dawie Snyman. ‘He has played for us before and it will be exciting if we can get a guy like Senatla in space. Defensively, he has defended against the best players in the world.’
Snyman eased fears over Etzebeth’s injury, as the lock will undoubtedly play a big role for the Springboks in their World Cup campaign later this year.
‘Eben is definitely not ready for the next two games. It is not too serious. He has a bit of history with his calf, so we want to be sure. It is a big year for him and us. We are confident he will be ready as soon as possible to contribute to the Stormers and South Africa.’
Snyman added that Siya Kolisi, who is among those who may need a rest sooner than later, was happy to continue playing on tour, as the Stormers could be fielding a youthful pack without him.
‘Siya told us immediately after the Blues match that he wants to keep playing because we are losing a bit of experience. As the captain, he wants to make sure he keeps the team and the pack together.’
Tighthead prop Wilco Louw was also rumoured to be among the walking wounded, but Snyman was confident the Springbok would be ready for Friday’s match.
‘Wilco received a shot to the shoulder [against the Blues]. We were a bit worried initially, but he was much better on Sunday morning. He has gone for scans. There is still a good chance he will be ready for Friday’s game.’
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