Jean de Villiers trained with the Stormers on Monday and the chances are good that he will captain the side in Friday night’s Super 14 match against the Reds at Newlands.
“It’s looking good. Jean trained for the whole session. I’m sure he will be ready,” said Stormers assistant coach Gary Gold.
Stephen Nell reports for Die Burger that team spokesperson Frikkie Erasmus said a decision would be made on De Villiers later this week.
“We will continue to evaluate Jean. It looks very positive, but we’ll wait until Thursday,” said Erasmus.
The same applies to Fijian wing Sireli Naqelevuki, who may be kept on ice for another week after missing the game against the Sharks.
He injured his ribs in the pre-season game against Boland and Erasmus confirmed it was not a foregone conclusion that he would be available this week.
De Villiers was stretchered off early in the second half of Saturday’s 15-20 defeat to the Sharks with a neck injury.
Fortunately the injury was not serious, but De Villiers’s neck is still stiff.
Gold was upbeat in spite of the defeat.
“We try to plan for everything, but it’s difficult when you lose the best centre in world rugby and your captain with a suspected broken neck. That really affects the players,” said Gold.
“We cannot question the players’ character and attitude. We were ahead 10-0 and after Jean went off conceded 20 unanswered points. We had the Sharks under pressure towards the end. We believe we’re on the right track.”
Gold acknowledged the Stormers had played in their own territory for too long and should have kicked better tactically.
He confirmed Luke Watson could be in the starting line-up this week.
“Luke can definitely be part of the plans. He did some good things when he came on Saturday and brings a different dimension to the loose-trio. He is a link player and passer rather than someone who plays directly,” said Gold.
Meanwhile, the Brisbane Courier Mail reports that former rugby league player Mark McLinden may be included at fullback for the Reds against the Stormers. He was a substitute in the weekend’s defeat of 20-33 to the Bulls.
His inclusion could pave the way for Peter Hynes to move into his favoured wing spot.Tweet