Ashfak Mohamed reports on IOL that Springbok fullback Conrad Jantjes is set to return to the Stormers’ starting line-up in place of veteran Percy Montgomery for Saturday’s Super 14 clash against the Crusaders in Christchurch.
Stormers assistant coach Allister Coetzee told the Cape Times on Monday from the team hotel in Christchurch that Jantjes is “fit and ready to play” after struggling with a calf injury in the last few weeks. Jantjes has missed the matches against the Blues, Bulls and Lions, with Montgomery filling in with mixed success.
“Connie is fit and ready to play,” Coetzee said. “He has been training with us and does provide us with lots of options in terms of selection.
“He can play fullback and wing, but Rassie (Erasmus) only discusses the team on a Tuesday, and he makes the final call on the Wednesday. So we will see what happens in that regard.”
But it is expected that Jantjes will play and should provide the Stormers with better attacking options. Also, Gcobani Bobo is set to stay at wing, the position in which he finished the game in the 56-18 victory over the Lions at Newlands two weekends ago, which means that Peter Grant is likely to fill in at centre in Bobo’s place.
Bobo will replace the injured Nick Koster, and with Tonderai Chavhanga also still recovering from a hamstring problem, Bobo will be a stop-gap measure, possibly until Chavhanga’s expected return in two weeks’ time.
Grant’s kicking ability, along with Jantjes and flyhalf Willem de Waal, would mean that Montgomery is not needed. Of course, Grant’s direct running, distribution and solid defence are also added factors, while he is sure to assist De Waal in dictating the game for the Stormers from the flyhalf channel.
“Willem was good against the Lions, and we will be well prepared if there is a kicking battle against the Crusaders,” said Coetzee. “(Crusaders flyhalf) Stephen Brett did play well against the Waratahs, but we cannot worry about individuals.”
Rookie loosehead prop Wicus Blaauw is also set to retain his place at loosehead prop ahead of the experienced JD Moller, while AJ Venter will come in for the injured Andries Bekker.
Coetzee said that the Stormers have been hard at work during training since arriving in Christchurch, especially after watching the Crusaders pull off something of a surprise victory over the Waratahs in Sydney.
“The guys have settled in nicely,” he said. “We had a nice flush-out session on Saturday after getting here late on Friday night, and we started with our preparation for the game today.
“It was a good win for the Crusaders and I am sure that it was a confidence booster for them, as they haven’t been doing well this season. I don’t think it is necessarily a surprise result, as we know their pedigree. If you get it right on the day, you can beat the Waratahs, even in Sydney.”
The Crusaders website reported after the Waratahs game that captain Kieran Read sustained a hip injury when he left the field halfway through the second half, while openside flank George Whitelock had limped off after halftime with a cut leg.
Inside centre Ryan Crotty, who had a superb game on attack and defence, and veteran fullback Leon MacDonald, who had endured several big hits, also left the field with injuries. But Coetzee said the Stormers expect to see experienced centre Casey Laulala return from a shoulder injury this week. The Stormers have no injuries.Tweet