17 Apr 2012
Stormers stand-in captain Jean de Villiers has injured ligaments in his hand and may be sidelined for two months.
The injury will rule the Stormers centre out for the rest of the Australasian tour, and may also preclude him from the Springboks’ three Tests against England in June.
The severity of the injury is yet to be determined, although the Stormers have confirmed that Danie Poolman has flown to Australia as a replacement.
The Stormers lost team captain Schalk Burger to a knee injury in round one, and De Villiers has led the team ever since. Andries Bekker, the vice captain, was sidelined this week with a back injury, and so news that De Villiers is unavailable means the Stormers will need to pick another captain for this week’s clash with the Reds.
Hooker Tiaan Liebenberg seems the strongest candidate, although Duane Vermeulen and Dewaldt Duvenage also form part of the Stormers’ leadership core.
Coach Allister Coetzee will also need to decide who to play at No 12 in De Villiers’ absence. Coetzee trialled Bryan Habana at No 13 in the pre-season and so he may opt to move Juan de Jongh to inside centre and bring Habana in off the wing. This would depend on Gio Aplon returning from injury to resume his place in the back three.
The other option is to start JP du Plessis at No 13 alongside De Jongh.
The Stormers team to play the Reds will be announced on Tuesday afternoon.