Double hooker blow for Valke

Despite a looming front-row injury crisis, the Valke are confident ahead of their Absa Currie Cup match against the Lions on Friday night.

First-choice hooker Deon Strydom injured his shoulder against the Cheetahs in round two and may have to undergo surgery. His replacement, Frik Venter, took a nasty blow to the head in the win over Griquas on Saturday and may be ruled out because of concussion.

It is hoped the knock is not too serious and he will be considered for selection when the team is announced tomorrow. He will undergo a medical examination to determine his availability.

Captain Piet Krause is a little concerned. “Our strong point when we won the Vodacom Cup was we were able to play the same pack virtually throughout, but now these disruptions hamper our preparations,” Krause told keo.co.za.

Apart from the injured hooker duo, loose-forward Jacques Nieuwenhuis is still missing after suffering concussion in the narrow opening-round loss to the Blue Bulls. “Jaques will be out for at least another week,” confirmed Krause.

The victory was the first at this level for the Valke since 2002 and has given the team plenty of confidence going forward. “It was a great relief to finally get the win, because many of these guys have not played before this season at this level. Now they know what it takes to get a win.”

Despite camping in Griquas half for most of the first 40 minutes at the weekend, the Valke had to rely on three tries in the last 20 minutes to give them an ultimately deserved victory.

The rest of the team is expected to remain the same when coach John Williams releases it tomorrow.

By Andrew Hollely