The Stormers have turned to semi-retired former Lions front row forward Bertus Smit, as they look for some cover at tighthead prop – where injuries have cut a swathe in recent weeks.
Rugby 365′s Jan De Koning reports that Smit, who has missed more than a year of rugby after suffering a career-threatening neck injury, joined up with the Stormers at their training base in Bellville this week.
Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus says the 31-year-old prop, despite being way off the pace in terms of Super 14 conditioning, can help shore up his front row reserve base.
“We had three injuries in quick succession at tighthead [prop],” Erasmus said, adding that Brok Harris’s foot injury looks the most serious.
“He [Harris] was really looking awesome and we feel sorry for the guy,” the Stormers coach said. “He will only be back when we go on tour [Week Seven - when they face the Crusaders in Christchurch on March 28].
“Brian [Mujati] is playing this weekend and we’re glad about that, while JC [Kritzinger] is out for between seven and 21 days.”
Erasmus pointed out that Smit played for the Lions ahead of Brian Mujati.
“He is wonderful player and has played lots of Super Rugby.”
The Stormers coach said no contract has been signed yet, but the prop will be remunerated while training with the Stormers.
“The nice thing is Bertus lives in Cape Town, and although he has been out for a bit, he says he is extremely keen to play again.
“We just think it is an ideal back-up for us if something bad happens now,” Erasmus added.
Last Sunday the Stormers had to field loosehead prop Wicus Blaauw at tighthead – after both Mujati and Kritzinger withdrew with injuries sustained in training. That saw the Stormers scrum under tremendous pressure against English Premiership club Saracens.
Erasmus has denied that he was thinking of sending an SOS to Springbok prop CJ van der Linde, who played under him at the Cheetahs.
Van der Linde, who is currently playing for Ulster in Ireland, is looking to return home and has been linked with a move to the Bulls as he tries to regain his place in the Springbok squad.Tweet