The Stormers have brought both Don Armand and Nick Fenton-Wells into their Super Rugby squad ahead of this weekend’s Newlands clash against the Waratahs, in a blow to the Western Province Vodacom Cup side’s hopes of winning a maiden title this weekend.
Already reeling from a ridiculous loose forward injury toll, which prompted Canadian Jeb Sinclair to be brought in from nowhere ahead of last weekend’s Cheetahs game, the Stormers lost starting number 8 Nizaam Carr to a cruciate knee ligament injury over the weekend and as a result have had to raid the Vodacom Cup ranks for cover while Coetzee scours the globe for an experienced number 8 to bring in.
The Stormers will face the Waratahs with a trio comprising Singlair, Siya Kolisi and retreated lock Rynhardt Elstadt, a far cry from the experienced and battle-hardened combination of Schalk Burger, Duane Vermuelen and Nick Koster that started the season. The fact that their Vodacom Cup side has managed to progress all the way to the final without the use of stars like Kolisi and Carr is already testament to the depth in the province, but that side will be hard-pressed to subdue an in-form Griquas side without one, or both, of Armand and Fenton-Wells.
Coach Alister Coetzee, meanwhile, has taken a pre-emptive swipe at the SANZAR regulations that would prevent anyone brought in at this stage of the season – including Sinclair – from being eligible to play in Super Rugby knock out games. The high attrition rate in the Super Rugby competition means that teams will be lucky to have the same 35-man squad fit and available by the time the finals series comes around and SANZAR’s ruling that players who registered with a team after 1 April will not be eligible for these games could see the finals contested on a “last man standing” basis, rather than one of strength against strength.Tweet