Springbok fullback Conrad Jantjes is among the candidates to take the place of injured Stormers left wing Sireli Naqelevuki for the opening Super 14 match against the Sharks at Newlands.
Die Burger’s Stephen Nell reports that Naqelevuki injured his ribs in the weekend’s friendly match against Boland and the chances are good that he will miss the game on 14 February.
“If he really has to play he can, but it may not be wise. There could be more than 13 games still to come after that, so we’re not going to risk him,” said Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus.
“We’ll know on Monday exactly where we stand with Sireli. There are a few options – Joe Pietersen, Nick Koster Alipate Fatafehi and Conrad Jantjes. It should be one of those four.”
Erasmus later added that it could even be an option to move Tonderai Chavhanga to the left wing as a lot is expected of the No 11 on defence.
Jantjes, who is nursing a groin injury, played a limited part in Wednesday’s training session, while flank Schalk Burger participated fully.
Erasmus gave the assurance both players would be available for selection against the Sharks. “They will be ready without a doubt. It’s not ideal that they have not played in the pre-season, but the chances are good that they will be selected,” he said.
Percy Montgomery wore the No 15 jersey against Saracens and Boland in Jantjes’ absence. Jantjes is presently South Africa’s first-choice fullback, but has played test rugby at wing and it’s definitely an option to play him there in Naqelevuki’s place.
Montgomery’s left boot can also be an ace up the Stormers’ sleeves in a game where percentage rugby could be the order of the day.
The veteran fullback, who retired from Test rugby last year, looked sharp in the warm-up games. Jantjes, however, should wear the No 15 jersey in most of the Stormers’ games.
They are currently looking after their players carefully to ensure they have the biggest possible squad to choose from for the game against the Sharks.
Flyhalf Willem de Waal will start training again next week and did not play in the pre-season. Peter Grant is therefore being managed very carefully.
Luke Watson (loose forward) and Andries Bekker (lock) both have slight back injuries, but there is no worry about their availability for the opening round of the Super 14.Tweet