No Blues for Watson

Despite being forced from the field after 10 minutes against the Blues, Stormers flanker Luke Watson is confident he will recover to join Schalk Burger and Joe van Niekerk in the back row for the first time this season when the Stormers take on the Chiefs in Hamilton.

Speaking to keo.co.za from the Stormers new base in Tauranga (between Auckland and Wellington), Watson revealed that the injuries he suffered in Auckland are not as severe as initially thought.

Watson was rushed from the field directly to hospital after a vicious head clash.

“All is good. I had a dislocated finger which I popped back in myself, and five stitches on the inside of my lip,” Watson said. “Apart from a hugely swollen face, I’m fine.”

It initially appeared that Watson would be out of the rest of the Cape side’s tour, but x-rays revealed no fractures in his face.

The news is a welcome boost for Stormers coach Kobus van der Merwe, who told keo.co.za that Bok No 8 Van Niekerk will be included in the starting line-up for the first time this season against the Chiefs.

Watson’s availability means the Stormers coaching staff can select their first-choice back row for the first time this season, a full 10 weeks into the competition.

By Chris Hewitt