Saru ruling frustrates Coetzee
28 May 2012
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee says he only recently learned of Steven Kitshoff’s unavailability for the crunch match against the Bulls.
Kitshoff, who has started at loosehead prop in all 12 of the Stormers’ matches to date, will link up with the SA U20 side as they prepare for next month’s Junior World Championship.
It was hoped that he would still feature in what is effectively a South African conference title decider this Saturday, but strict regulations have thwarted those plans.
‘It was only made clear last week that Steven would not be available,’ said a glum looking Coetzee. ‘The SA Rugby ruling is that international sevens and U20 games take preference over Super Rugby. It’s never been like that before.’
Coetzee revealed that he had previously struck a deal with SA U20 coach Dawie Theron in an attempt to ensure Kitshoff was correctly managed. It was hoped that Kitshoff would face the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld this week, and then sit out of the Baby Boks’ first game against Ireland.
However, those plans have been wrecked with Kitshoff declared unavailable for Super Rugby selection.
‘Danie and I had worked out a good plan, we were very excited,’ said Coetzee. ‘It was a plan that could have ensured that everybody benefited.
‘Steven would play the Bulls but sit out of the match against Ireland. If the Baby Boks made the final, then obviously I would reassess how he was used when Super Rugby resumed [on 30 June], I may have had to rest him.
‘It would have been good to see him going up a potential Bok candidate in [Bulls tighthead] Werner Kruger this week. Unfortunately it is not to be. There is nothing I can do.’
Coetzee confirmed that one of Deon Carstens or Wicus Blaauw will fill the void in the front row. Brok Harris won’t be shifted from tighthead to loosehead.
The coach also didn’t find it problematic that neither Carstens nor Blaauw have featured in Super Rugby this season, or that Carstens has been playing tighthead for Western Province in the Vodacom Cup.
‘Deon toured Australasia with us and as a Springbok is a very experienced player. His first position is loosehead. Wicus is also no stranger to Super Rugby, so we are not worried.’
Meanwhile, flank Siya Kolisi is expected to return to the starting line-up having made good progress with his injury. Fullback Joe Pietersen will undergo further tests to his back on Tuesday.
By Jon Cardinelli