Stormers jolted by Jean scare

Keo.co.za has learnt Jean de Villiers pulled out of training earlier this afternoon, and is likely to miss the Stormers’ clash with the Waratahs at Newlands on Saturday.

De Villiers, who was set to continue in jersey 12, had to abandon training after injuring his groin whilst running.

Dr Ryan Kohler, the Stormers’ chief medic, was on the scene and his initial diagnosis was that De Villiers will be out for 7 to 10 days.

The player immediately returned home to apply ice to the injury.

Stormers head coach Kobus van der Merwe would not rule out De Villiers’ participation in Saturday’s fixture, despite Kohler’s medical opinion, and stated that the Bok playmaker would be given every opportunity to regain fitness in the next two days.

“We’re not sure at this stage if Jean will be fit or not,” Van der Merwe said. “We are obviously very hopeful that he recovers. He would be a big loss.”

When asked of an alternative plan should De Villiers not recover sufficiently, Van der Merwe stated that Gus Theron would move into outside centre, with captain De Wet Barry moving one closer to the scrum – a position he’s extremely familiar with.

When Barry was doubtful for the Cats encounter, Werner Greeff was on standby to move into 13, allowing Joe Pietersen to slot in at fullback. Against the Waratahs, however, that will be the last move Van der Merwe and his coaching team consider.

Waratah training suggests that Lote Tuqiri will return to the wing, and with Wendell Sailor would want nothing more than to chase kicks onto a back-three comprimising Jongi Nokwe, Rayno Benjamin and Pietersen – three players whose weaknesses include defence and aerial ability.

Another scenario would see Peter Grant shifting to 12, with Naas Olivier coming in as flyhalf. It would be a brave decision, but whether entrusting Theron with marking either Morgan Turinui or Tuqiri is any less courageous is a subject for debate.

There is no chance that Marius Joubert will be fit to replace De Villiers.

Meanwhile Hanyani Shimange is also set to lose his race to retain jersey 2, with the leg knock suffered against the Cats likely to keep him sidelined. Schalk Brits will start his first competitive game for the Cape side at Newlands, with Huia Edmonds promoted to the bench.

PROBABLE STORMERS TEAM TO PLAY THE WARATAHS

15. Werner Greeff
14. Rayno Benjamin
13. Gus Theron
12. De Wet Barry (c)
11. Jongi Nokwe
10. Peter Grant
9. Bolla Conradie
8. Adri Badenhorst
7. Schalk Burger
6. Luke Watson
5. Andries Bekker
4. Ross Skeate
3. Eddie Andrews
2. Schalk Brits
1. JD Moller