Hooker Tiaan Liebenberg is the latest DHL Stormers player to fall foul of injury and hop on the plane home from the side’s Vodacom Super Rugby tour of Australia. Liebenberg joins Schalk Burger who returned to Cape Town on Sunday. Burger is out with a slightly torn quad muscle, while Liebenberg suffered a lower neck impingement against the Brumbies on Saturday and will consult a specialist this week once he arrives back home.
At this stage Liebenberg will be out of action for at least three weeks, with coach Allister Coetzee also sweating over the fitness of lock Ruan Botha who took a knock to his ankle during his team’s gut-wrenching 15-25 loss in Canberra. “Ruan injured the ankle that was operated on last year and, at this stage, he has a 50 percent chance of being fit for the next match against the Reds (on Saturday). In the case of Schalk we’ll wait and see what the specialist’s report says before we know how long he’ll be sidelined but we expect Siya Kolisi to be ready since he has responded well to ongoing treatment (on his AC Joint),” Coetzee told the Stormers’s website.
Powerful lock Tazz Fuzani and 20-year-old flanker Sikhumbuzo Notshe – two stars of the DHL Western Province Vodacom Cup team – departed for Australia on Monday afternoon and will join up with the Stormers squad in Brisbane. Coetzee said, “We have flown over Tazz Fuzani and Sikhumbuzo Notshe as injury replacements and both of them will come in the reckoning for the matchday squad this week. Deon Fourie will start as a hooker this week and Stephan Coetzee, who joined us on tour last week, will be the reserve.”
With Fourie set to move from the side of the scrum back to hooker this week, that would leave space for both Nizaam Carr and Siya Kolisi to combine with Springbok star Duane Vermeulen in a new-look loose trio. “Duane Vermeulen has been playing so well this season and I would not like to move him (from No.8). Nizaam and Siya will come into contention for places on the side of the scrum,” said Coetzee.
Fullback Jaco Taute, who missed last week’s match because of an ongoing AC Joint problem, will come back into the selection equation for the DHL Stormers’ final tour match against the Reds on Saturday. (Kick-off 10h40 SA time.) The Stormers side to take on the Reds in Brisbane will be announced on Wednesday mid-morning (SA time).