The Stormers look set to bolster their pack for the crunch derby match against the Cheetahs at Newlands this weekend.
The Bloemfontein side pose a formidable threat up-front and the indications are that Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus will bring back former Free Stater Tiaan Liebenberg at hooker in place of the more mobile Schalk Brits. Lock Adriaan Fondse is likely to come back into contention as well, after missing the good victory over the Force in Perth.
Wing Tonderai Chavanga took a knock at training, but should be fit to start, although the news is less good for replacement scrumhalf Conrad Hoffman, who is out. Fortunately, Springbok Bolla Conradie is fit to take Hoffman’s place on the bench. The backline will in all likelihood be unchanged, with Tony Brown again on the bench as Peter Grant continues his run at flyhalf.
The Stormers are now well placed to challenge for a semi-final spot, having amassed an unprecedented 16 log pints on their 4-match tour overseas. They will need to overturn their home form, though, to take advantage of a string of matches at Newlands that are all must-wins. The Stormers have, incredibly, lost more matches at Newlands than they have won over the lifetime of Super Rugby, making their work all the more daunting.
The Cheetahs, meanwhile, have reacted to yet further rumours of a mass player exodus at the end of their campaign. Union President Harold Verster has assured fans the union will do whatever it can to maintain its player base, although he concedes that it’s unlikely that CJ van der Linde will stick around. The burly prop is highly in demand at the Sharks (who clearly want to have all three Bok tightheads on their books) and is understood to be looking at a number of good offers from abroad as well.
Other players looking certain to leave at this stage are locks Rory Duncan and Darron Nell. To add a little extra spice to the derby, former Cheetahs coach Erasmus is said to be hot on the heels of a number of the Cheetahs’ star forwards.Tweet