VIDEO: Stormers sweating over red-card hearings
The Stormers, apart from having to have a long, hard look in the mirror, will be sweating over the availability of several key players.
The Stormers host the high-flying Bulls in a big north-south Rainbow Cup derby in Cape Town on Saturday – hoping to make amends for their 30-33 loss to the Sharks this past weekend.
Top of the list of concerns is the disciplinary hearings – scheduled for Wednesday – of burly No.8 Willie Engelbrecht and Sevens flyer Seabelo Senatla, who were both yellow carded in the loss to the Sharks.
Senatla was red-carded for taking out Sharks fullback Aphelele Fassie in the air, early in the match.
Engelbrecht’s red card was the result of two yellow cards for what match officials deemed dangerous, high tackles.
Apart from the disciplinary hearings, there are also injury issues.
Flyhalf Kade Wolhuter suffered a serious ACL knee injury that requires surgery and will almost certainly be ruled out for the rest of the year.
Lock John Schickerling is another concern and hasn’t trained this week, after injuring his ankle against the Sharks.
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The team reshuffles will be further complicated by the release of midfielder Ruhan Nel to the national Sevens team, so he can fulfil his dream to qualify for the Olympic Games.
Stormers assistant coach Dawie Snyman told a virtual media briefing that it has always been a “big dream” for Nel to make the BlitzBoks’ Olympic squad.
“We have given him that opportunity,” Snyman told the media.
The assistant coach added that they will look at players like Dan du Plessis and Cornel Smith.
Snyman described Smith as an “explosive runner”.
“We have worked hard on his defence and that has come good.
“He spent a lot of time with [defence coach] Norman [Laker], as it was an area of his game we identified as a need for work a few years ago. In the preparation games, he was spot on.”
The return to fitness of Sergeal Petersen will assist in the other backline changes.
If Senatla is banned, Petersen can slot in on the wing.
Abner van Reenen looks set to take over from the injured Wolhuter at flyhalf.
Snyman said Van Reenen has enough “X-factor” and his kicking game has improved.
Up front David Meihuizen could come into the second row if Schickerling fails to recover.
Evan Roos is a readymade replacement should Engelbrecht be slapped with a ban on Wednesday.