Utility forward Michael Rhodes will return home from the Stormers’ Super Rugby tour of Australasia after suffering a hamstring tear in his team’s 32-18 bonus point win over the Waratahs at the weekend. The tough-tackling forward was forced to leave the field in the 33rd minute on Saturday and he now faces a six-to-eight-week lay-off. This is Rhodes’s second injury blow of the season after picking up a knee injury against the Lions in late February.
Rhodes will be replaced in the Stormers tour party by Western Province star Sikhumbuzo Notshe, who left for Perth late on Sunday evening. Stormers boss Allister Coetzee says: ‘Michael has a Grade Two/Three hamstring tear and will be out of action for at least six weeks. It’s a huge blow to the team and to Mike, who brings a physical edge to the DHL Stormers pack. Thankfully, however, we have a strong squad system at the DHL Stormers and you could see that in the performance of Siya Kolisi on Saturday – he put his body on the line for the team, as did everyone around him. Notshe joined us on tour as a replacement last year (too), so this isn’t new to him. He’s been in great form for our unbeaten Vodacom Cup team, having also made giant strides during the 2014 Absa Currie Cup.’ Forwards Manuel Carizza and Nizaam Carr spent time in the blood bin on Saturday – a physical encounter against the defending champions in Sydney – but both will be up for selection this coming weekend against the Western Force.
Flanker Schalk Burger (AC Joint) and flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis (mild concussion) will also be considered for selection this week after suffering knocks against the ‘Tahs. The Stormers will finish their four-match tour of Australasia against the Force at Perth’s nib Stadium this coming Saturday (kick-off 19:45 local time; 13:45 SA time). Coetzee says: ‘We had some sore bodies after this match, so our first intention is to ensure we field a strong and fit team against the Force. We need to continue improving, as we have on this tour, and will keep our feet on the ground and keep working hard in our final week (on tour).’