Joe kept in cotton wool

Stormers management have made a late decision to withdraw Joe van Niekerk from the match 22 to face the Blues.

Van Niekerk told keo.co.za earlier this week that if he still felt the niggle he suffered in training on Monday he would prefer not to play, citing long term considerations.

Coach Kobus van der Merwe has concurred.

“Joe has just returned from a lengthy lay off and we have to manage him very carefully. It is better for him to have time to rest and recover now than to face the prospect of missing out on more games later on,” Van der Merwe said.

Van Niekerk will be replaced by Justin Melck on the Stormers’ bench.