The Stormers suffered a major setback before their must-win Super Rugby clash against the Sharks at Newlands on Saturday with the news that scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies would miss the coastal derby.
Jantjies‚ 22‚ sustained the injury in the first half of last weekend’s 31-18 win over the Sunwolves in Cape Town.
Veteran Jano Vermaak‚ coming back from a long-term injury himself‚ replaced Jantjies and will start this weekend.
Scans have shown that there is no collar bone fracture — as initially feared — but he will not be fit enough for the Sharks match.
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“It looks like there is a bit of bone bruising and a muscle tear‚ so at this stage he is not good for selection‚” Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said on Tuesday.
‘The good news is that it is not a long-term injury. He has gone to see another specialist today so we are waiting for those scans to come back. Hopefully‚ he will be back next week.
“Herschel is a big part of our plans at the moment.
“In saying that‚ Jano did very well on the weekend. It is good to have his experience back in the squad. Herschel is going to be missed and he definitely brings a tempo to our game.”
Tough as teak flank Pieter-Steph du Toit‚ who is sidelined with a shoulder injury but had been expected to be ready for the play-offs should the Stormers progress‚ is out for longer than anticipated.
Fleck confirmed he would be out for up to another six weeks‚ meaning his participation in the Rugby Championship for the Springboks is unlikely.
But there was a boost for the Stormers as centre Damian de Allende returned to training after sitting out the Sunwolves clash due to Springbok resting protocols.
Meanwhile, Sunwolves assistant coach Scott Hansen had a parting shot for the Stormers‚ dismissing their credentials until they played more positive rugby.
“We knew the Stormers wanted a try-scoring bonus point and we acknowledged that in our game plan‚’ said Hansen. “But you are not going to achieve a bonus point if you slow the game down and go down on the ground. If that is the Stormers’ mindset‚ then they are not going to go forward in competitions.
“At times‚ when the tempo of the game was raised‚ we felt they slowed the game down‚ and when they had a chance to speed up the game‚ they didn’t. That may have been a tactic of theirs‚ but the game we want to play is one using the ball.”