Elstadt doubtful for opener

Stormers enforcer Rynhardt Elstadt has sustained a serious ankle injury and is likely to miss the opening Super Rugby match against the Hurricanes.

The Stormers have already lost hooker Deon Fourie for six weeks to a broken hand, an injury that was incurred in last Saturday’s warm-up match against the Kings. On Tuesday, coach Allister Coetzee said the fixture had claimed another casualty in the form of Elstadt. The No 4 lock suffered a grade one ankle ligament tear and could be out for as many as three weeks.

Although Coetzee couldn’t say for certain how long Elstadt would be sidelined, he did admit that the injury was a major concern just nine days out from the opening game against the Hurricanes. If Elstadt doesn’t recover in time, De Kock Steenkamp will partner Andries Bekker in the Stormers’ second row.

Several other players are recovering from niggles, but Coetzee hopes to have everybody bar Fourie available for this clash. Joe Pietersen has a slight hamstring strain while Juan de Jongh is still recovering from a jaw injury. Nick Koster missed Tuesday’s training session as he was having fluid drained from his knee.

The good news for the Stormers is that first-choice scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage is on the mend and may start against the Hurricanes. Duvenage hasn’t featured in any of the pre-season matches, but Coetzee may play him in the first half of next week’s match.

By Jon Cardinelli