Lock Andries Bekker is set to miss the remainder of the Stormers’ Super 14 campaign with a broken toe.
It was confirmed on Monday night that the Springbok lock had broken a bone as well as torn a ligament in a toe, ruling him out of the Cape side’s tour of Australasia.
Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus has been shopping around for a replacement for Bekker, but so far has had little success. Former Stormers lock Ross Skeate, who is currently playing for Toulon in France, was one option, but it was revealed that he suffered a broken jaw while on duty with the French club over the weekend.
“We did think of bringing in Ross if he could be released from his commitments, but his jaw is broken so that settles that,” assistant coach Gary Gold told SuperSport.
It now appears the Stormers will have to make do with the options they already have within the squad with loose forwards Francois Louw and Duane Vermeulen able to provide cover at lock if required.
‘Francois has played there and we believe Duane can play there. He certainly has the height and he has the weight. He is around the same size as Adriaan Fondse,’ said Gold.
‘Obviously losing Andries is not ideal, particularly in view of what he gives us in terms of explosiveness. He has become an important part of our attacking weaponry. But these things happen in rugby, particularly in this competition, and we are just going to have to make other plans.
‘Apart from Duane and Francois, we also have Hilton Lobberts in the squad, and he can cover both lock and loose-forward. AJ Venter has come through well for us in the last few games, so while it might be a problem finding someone who can play No 5 lock, we do have options.’
Former Stormers hooker Tiaan Liebenberg is set to rejoin the side from Toulon following an injury to youngster Deon Fourie, while Dylan des Fountain and Morgan Newman are also set to be included in the squad which departs for Australasia on Thursday.