VIDEO: Stormers' never-ending problems
SUPER RUGBY REACTION: Aside from a 17-19 defeat at home, the Stormers could find themselves without the services of two valuable second-row players.
During Saturday’s defeat to the Brumbies at Newlands, Cobus Wiese and Salmaan Moerat were forced to leave the field due to concussions.
Wiese left the in the 22nd minute after a collision with Brumbies hooker Folau Fainga’a, while Moerat was replaced by Johan du Toit in the second half of the match.
The lock duo’s injuries are certainly a hindrance for the Cape Town franchise, who have been without the service of Eben Etzebeth (calf)‚ Chris van Zyl (back) and JD Schickerling (shoulder).
However, it’s not all doom and gloom as head coach Robbie Fleck revealed that Etzebeth along with Schickerling could be available for next week’s Round 11 fixture against the Bulls.
“I haven’t had the feedback yet,” Fleck told reporters when asked about the severity of the lock duo’s injuries.
“Cobus [Wiese] went for an x-ray on his cheek and Salmaan [Moerat] failed his HIA tests.
“Those are the only two that raise a few concerns, but we do have both JD Shickerling and Eben Etzebeth returning from injuries this week.
“It’s certainly all about timing because that position has been hit hard through injuries,”
While injuries certainly played a major part in the Stormers dismal performance, it was their on-field actions that left the 11 333 Newlands faithful disappointed.
The Cape Town team had 66 percent possession and made 172 carries compared to Brumbies’ 81. However, their lack of creativity and Brumbies’ defence just made accumulating points a difficult task.
To make matters worse, the Stormers had several kickable penalties but only opted to kick a penalty at goal twice – one early on and the other from over 30 metres out and 15 metres in from touchline – flyhalf Joshua Stander managed to slot over one.
In the end, the side lost by two points.
Nonetheless, Fleck defended his team’s decision to opt for set-pieces and added they felt they were in a good position to claim five-pointers.
“I’ll always back the captain on his decisions. The players felt that they had an opportunity,” Fleck said, adding: “We were 12-0 down so I can understand the decisions in that regard to go for the points and we came close.
“Think in hindsight maybe [we should have kicked for the goal] but certainly the players thought that it was the right call and I’ll always back that.
“At the end of the game we went for the points, but Josh [Stander] missed that one opportunity [in the second half]. There was another penalty from a maul, which was probably tough to kick,”
He added: “Brumbies conceded plenty of penalties every time we got into the 22 and that is how they survived. I felt there should have been a yellow card earlier in the game to sort that out their ill-discipline.
“Having said that, we are not running away from the fact that we should have executed better,”
The Stormers sit at the bottom of the South African conference with four wins from nine matches.
By Leezil Hendricks