The Stormers are still weighing their options but it will come as no surprise if they select former Springbok Ollie le Roux at loosehead prop for the Super 14 rugby match against the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.
However, special permission will have to be sought to select the veteran for a playoff match should the Stormers qualify for the semi-finals.
Stephen Nell writes in Die Burger that according to Super 14 regulations a player must take part in at least four league matches to be eligible for a playoff match.
Super 14 tournament director Johan Botes confirmed on Monday that he would have to be approached for permission.
“The question will be why the player has to come in now. The argument may be that they are so short of prop forwards that they will be unable to compete in the scrum right from the start.
“Another question will be whether the player who comes in will be better than someone playing in the Vodacom Cup competition.
“The regulation is meant to prevent teams from being strengthened before a semi-final. The Stormers have spoken to me about this and I told them to put it in writing,” Botes said.
“I will look at their arguments and discuss the matter with other people,” he added.
The Stormers have a lack of experience on the loosehead side as a result of JD Moller’s recent injury and have used Brian Mujati in that position.
Overtake them on points difference
The Cape side are by no means sure of a semi-final berth yet. Even if they beat the Lions and earn a bonus point, the Sharks can still overtake them on points difference when they play the Chiefs in the last match on Saturday evening.
Le Roux, who has been playing for the Irish side Leinster until less than two weeks ago, joined the Stormers on Monday and is eligible for this week’s match.
Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus was unavailable for the usual media interview on Monday and reporters were also not allowed to question Le Roux.
The veteran prop, on his way past reporters, did manage to say it felt “Good! Good! Good!” to be at the team’s practice.
When Stormers captain Jean de Villiers was asked about having Le Roux’s experience at the squad’s disposal, he said, “I think this is the first time in my career that I’m saying “no comment”.
Team spokesperson Frikkie Erasmus said no decision had been taken about Le Roux’s participation.
The Stormers did not practise scrumming on Monday but they are likely to do so on Tuesday. Their scrumming was poor, for the second successive weekend, when they drew 13-all with the Waratahs last Saturday.
With limited training time available, the Stormers could consider employing Le Roux as a substitute on Saturday. He seems to be fit and relaxed.
One option is to return Mujati to his preferred position on the tighthead side of the front row and play Schalk Ferreira at loosehead. Le Roux can then come on off the bench.
Veteran wing Wylie Human has recovered from his rib injury and tighthead prop Brock Harris, who injured a shoulder against the Waratahs, is also fit again.
The Stormers are unlikely to make many changes, though.
Speedy wing Tonderai Chavhanga trained with the team for a while on Monday but he will probably not be risked against the Lions.
The intensity during Monday’s training was noticeable and it was clear that the players were fully aware of the importance of the match against the Lions.Tweet