Stormers scrumhalf Ricky Januarie, who meets All Black Piri Weepu in a Super 14 rugby duel here on Saturday, has received a huge pat on the back from his coach.
“I’m proud of Ricky. He never misses a practice and he puts his body on the line in every match,” Rassie Erasmus said after a practice in Durbanville.
Stephen Nell writes in Die Burger that Erasmus’s decision to offer the former Lions Springbok a contract before the start of the present season was roundly criticised but Januarie has shown such good form that he can hardly be left out of the national squad.
“We also have Bolla Conradie, an experienced player who never wants to miss a match,” Erasmus said. “The competition between them makes for a good atmosphere.”
Talking about the expected halfback duel in the match between the Stormers and the Hurricanes, Erasmus said Januarie and Weepu were similar players, both extremely competitive.
Januarie, who scored the first try when the Stormers beat the Cheetahs 34-22 last weekend, is starting to look as dangerous as he was earlier in his career.
The duel with Weepu provides him with another opportunity to prove he should be in the Springbok squad.
There is still some concern in the Stormers camp over the fitness of lock Andries Bekker, who has a groin injury, and loosehead prop JD Moller, who has ankle problems.
No 8 Luke Watson and flyhalf Peter Grant also did not take part in the field session on Monday.
“Luke and Bash (Grant) will both be ready,” Erasmus said, adding that Moller and Bekker had to deal with the “pain factor”.
Scans have shown no damage to the ligaments and Erasmus is confident that both will be available.
It is unlikely that the coach will consider Brian Mujati at loosehead prop. If Moller is unable to play, Schalk Ferreira could come into contention.
“One wants a guy who has handled that sort of pressure,” Erasmus explained. “Schalk is an experienced player.”
Other front-row options are young Wicus Blaauw and Janro van Niekerk but no decision has to be taken before later this week.
Erasmus knows the Hurricanes will be formidable opponents. “Just look at the big names in their team,” he said.
“They are fitter than in previous years and can play for the full 80 minutes. And they have retained the same players and coach for a few seasons.”Tweet