The Vodacom Stormers are considering launching an appeal against the two-week ban slapped on Schalk Burger for “unsportsmanlike conduct”, but should he not be cleared for the match against Crusaders, Robbie Diack will replace him.
Gavin Rich reports that the return of Diack at No 8 would facilitate a switch for Luke Watson back to his preferred position on the side of the scrum. Watson has played most of his rugby at No 6, but was moved to No 8 at the start of the season by new Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus.
A big bullocking player who is a good ball player, Diack has been a success at Currie Cup level over the past few seasons but has yet to really settle at Super 14 level.
Should he get his chance against the Crusaders, it will be the perfect opportunity for him to cement a more permanent place in the team. He certainly has the ability, there are just some who have questioned whether he has the heart for Super 14 rugby at his young age.
But the Stormers management are still hoping it won’t come to that. They know how important Burger is to their cause against Crusaders, who are one of the best teams in the world when it comes to strength at the breakdown and turning over opposition ball.
Details of a possible appeal have not been made yet and coach Erasmus is due to address a media conference on the issue in Durbanville at lunch-time on Wednesday.
If the matter does go to appeal, the appeal could be heard on Wednesday afternoon. The Stormers are desperate to have Burger cleared to play against the Crusaders, where his battle with All Black captain Richie McCaw was set to be one of the drawcards for spectators.
If the two-week suspension incurred by Burger stands it will mean he also misses the Stormers’ opening tour match against the Reds in Brisbane next Saturday.
Meanwhile, some Stormers players have been in a race against time to be declared fit for the Crusaders match. However, both Gcobani Bobo and JD Moller are expected to be in the team when it is announced later on Wednesday.
The one area where the Stormers are undecided is second row, where Ross Skeate may replace Adriaan Fondse in the team that started against the Sharks in Durban last weekend.
Possible Stormers team: Conrad Jantjes, Tonderai Chavhanga, Gcobani Bobo, Jean de Villiers, Sireli Naqelevuki, Peter Grant, Ricky Januarie, Robbie Diack, Francois Louw, Luke Watson, Andries Bekker, Ross Skeate, Brian Mujati, Tiaan Liebenberg, JD Moller.Tweet