Jongi Nokwe will surrender jersey 11 for the Stormers’ encounter with the Highlanders on Saturday in the Vodacom Super 14.
Speculation in the Monday press forecasted the exclusion of Nokwe, and speaking to keo.co.za, coach Kobus van der Merwe hinted very strongly that the Boland flyer would be left out of the match 22.
Making mention of Nokwe’s dropped pass when 5m out from the line, and the aerial barrage that he struggled with, Van der Merwe provided a frank assessment of Nokwe’s performanc against the Brumbies.
“Jongi would not have been happy with his display, and neither was I to be frank,” Van der Merwe said. “The Brumbies kicked on Jongi very well and he struggled in the air. We have not made a decision yet, we will finalise our side later today, but we will obviously look at the strengths of the opposition before making any decision.
“People must remember that it is Jongi’s first season and he’s still learning, but there’s no denying that this is a crucial game for us, and we may revert back to someone more experienced. Meanwhile we are working intensely with Jongi on his aerial skills and his defensive understanding. There were times on Friday when he appeared a bit lost.”
Nokwe’s most likely replacement – owing to his experience – is likely to be Gus Theron, with Tonderai Chavhanga still on the sidelines and unlikely to be considered for selection.
Former Cats outside back Chumani Booi is another contender for jersey 11, with Egon Seconds and Zhahier Ryland the extreme outside bets.