Injuries batter the Stormers
Scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies is out with a damaged sternum and flanker Jaco Coetzee won’t be ready after tests for concussion
Stormers and Bok scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies looks likely to be omitted from the starting team for Saturday’s Super Rugby clash against the Lions at Ellis Park.
He went into last week’s game against the Bulls with a sternum injury, and the rigours of that clash have taken an additional toll on the dynamo.
“Herschel was lucky to play last week as he has an injured sternum and is sore. We will give him until Thursday to prove his fitness‚ but even if he is fit for selection we will play him off the bench in Johannesburg‚” said Dobson.
With the Springboks due to take mandatory rests at various times in the season, Dobson may consider taking an even more conservative approach on the fitness of his star player.
The coach has ruled flanker Jaco Coetzee out of the contest.
“Jaco won’t play. He is busy with concussion tests. He failed Monday’s and we can’t hold out in hope that he will come through later in the week.
“So we are going to have to make a plan at openside. We will need pace at Ellis Park, so while Johan du Toit‚ who played at No 8 last week‚ is not really a fetcher‚ we might play him there‚ with Juarno Augustus at No 8.”
Dobson may rope in Nama Xaba, who has more refined specialist No 6 credentials.
“Nama is the other player in consideration and he is our one genuine opensider, but he played on Monday night‚” said the coach.
In anticipation of a match on a warm summer’s afternoon at altitude‚ the Stormers trekked out to the Boland town of Riebeek Kasteel‚ an hour or so out of Cape Town, on Tuesday.
“There are three reasons‚ perhaps the most important being that when we went to Superhero Day in Johannesburg we had 27 degree heat. It was also at altitude and we know how difficult that is‚” Dobson said after the session at the Riebeek Kasteel Primary School.
“We wanted to find a way to best assimilate the 3pm kickoff. It is challenging. Even at the Hurricanes it was challenging, and that game was played in Cape Town.
“It was 39 degrees during training and it will only be about 27 in Joburg, but there’s also the altitude effect that comes to play up there. The guys said it felt like they were at altitude.”
Dobson said he wants to introduce the team to communities in the wider area from which its members come. The brothers Pieter-Steph and Johan du Toit, for example, attended Riebeek Kasteel Primary School.
“I stated at the start of the season. We want to take the team to the communities‚ and coming here does that‚ while the third reason is that this is where the Du Toits are from‚ and the family have been begging us for a long time to come out and be hosted by them.”