Stormers have new headaches
INJURY UPDATE: The Stormers could have a second row headache in their build-up to their Round Seven Super Rugby encounter with the Blues.
Forwards coach Russell Winter confirmed that lock Salmaan Moerat and loose forward Jaco Coetzee suffered concussion in their team’s 28-34 loss to the Hurricanes in Wellington at the weekend.
Moerat came on for starting lock John Schickerling in the 26th minute, after the latter aggravated a shoulder injury.
On top of that Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth was a late withdrawal, after failing to pass stage five of his concussion (head injury assessment) test last Friday.
Winter said the latest concussion victims, Moerat and Coetzee, will be given until Thursday to pass their head injury assessment tests
“Things are looking quite positive,” Winter said in a teleconference call from New Zealand.
“We are hoping they will come through [and be available to face the Blues],” he added.
“Eben [Etzebeth] looks like he is recovering. He failed his concussion test last week, so he has to continue with his protocol this week.
“It is looking quite positive for him. We are hoping that by Thursday he will be cleared.”
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Winter confirmed Schickerling aggravated an AC joint (shoulder) injury early in the encounter with the Hurricanes.
“JD has a shoulder [injury] that he is trying to look after.
“We were aware of it and we need to manage it It is one of those things we need to make sure we make a good decision.
“It is not as serious as we thought.
“[However], it is a long season and we don’t want to take any chances.”
Schickerling is seeing a specialist in New Zealand and the Stormers management will base their decision on the feedback from the specialist.
“We hoping he will also be cleared.”
The Stormers have not called for any replacements yet and will make do with the resources they have on tour.
While disappointed with the outcome against the Hurricanes in Wellington, the DHL Stormers were encouraged by the effort and way their gameplan put the opposition under pressure, which will both be key factors going forward.
On their first game of a four-week Australasian tour, the DHL Stormers targeted the Hurricanes up front, with a powerful display from the forwards which saw them score three tries and come close to taking the victory.
Although they had an opportunity to win it with an attacking line-out at the end, it was not to be as the Hurricanes held on for a tense 34-28 win.
While disappointed with the loss to the Hurricanes, Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said they will take the positives out of their performance and come up with a different plan to take on the Blues in Auckland this weekend.
“We will do our work on the Blues this week and come up with another plan,” Fleck said.
“We wanted to target the Hurricanes up front and it worked. We got a number of penalties from our maul and scored from our maul, we got penalties from our scrum and when we carried hard we got some ascendency there.
“It was a game that we certainly should have won, so we are a bit frustrated with that. In terms of the effort, it was outstanding and in terms of the plan it was really good in the first half and the beginning of the second half,” he added.