IT looks like the Stormers’ first choice hooker Scarra Ntubeni could be set to miss both remaining matches in the league phase of Super Rugby.
Coach Allister Coetzee said after the 42-12 win over the Cheetahs at the weekend that Ntubeni’s calf tear could be described as a “grade nought to grade one” but on Monday it was confirmed that it might be a bit more serious than that.
“I underplayed it a bit on Saturday night. It appears it is a grade one, so it might be a two-week thing now,” said Coetzee.
“The doctor saw him this morning, and it appears that Scarra could be in doubt for the Sharks game as well as the one against the Lions this weekend.”
Losing Ntubeni will be problematic for the Stormers as the lineout that was malfunctioning earlier in the season has just started to rectify itself, and the communication between jumpers and the thrower is crucial to success.
However, Coetzee has confidence in the likely replacement, Michael Willemse, who led the Western Province team to the Vodacom Cup final and was impressive playing for the Stormers in a shock win over the Sharks in Durban last June.
“Hooker is a specialist position and an important position, but it is good that we have experienced players backing up in the form of Mikey and also Neil Rautenbach, who was part of our success in last year’s Currie Cup final.”
Although flanker Michael Rhodes did not train with the national training group on Monday, Coetzee confirmed that he is back in the selection mix after being laid off by injury since the second game of the overseas tour.
“Michael is ready to go. The only question is how we accommodate him in the team as everything is going well for us at the moment and everything is functioning. Our loose forwards are all in good form, but it is a nice situation to be in.”
Kobus van Wyk is also available this week on the wing, where there will be another tight call as the wings who played against the Cheetahs, Seabelo Senatla and Dillyn Leyds, were both in outstanding form. Lock Ruan Botha was supposed to be available but will instead be coming back next week. — SuperSport