Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus has been plagued by injuries ahead of his side’s five-match Super 14 tour of New Zealand and Australia.
While he at least received some positive news about Springbok full back Conrad Jantjes’ damaged calf – he will make the tour – he has lost two wings, a hooker and a lock.
The biggest blow is the loss of giant Springbok second row Andries Bekker, who broke a toe in last weekend’s 56-18 drubbing of the Lions and is set to undergo an operation. He is likely to be ruled out of the rest of the Super 14 tournament.
“It is a big blow for us as Andries was an important member of the team. In particular, we will miss his explosive presence on attack,” said Stormers assistant coach Gary Gold.
“The problem is that AJ Venter has done well for us in the last two games, but he is a No 4 lock, as is Adriaan Fondse. We can perhaps move Adriaan, but ideally we need another No 5 lock, and that is why we were looking at overseas possibilities.”
Among the candidates is former Western Province, and current Toulon lock, Ross Skeate. The Stormers have already contacted Toulon to ask for permission to take their former front row Springbok Tiaan Liebenberg on tour with them as cover for the injured Deon Fourie.
Fourie, a specialist hooker, damaged knee ligaments last weekend in the same game that saw two wings, Nick Koster and Tonderai Chavhanga, also limp out of the action. Chavhanga’s hamstring injury is likely to keep him sidelined for up to three weeks, while Koster’s knee problems will take much longer to recover.
Included in the party for the games against the Crusaders, Waratahs, Brumbies, Hurricanes and Highlanders are Western Province centres Morgan Newman and Dylan des Fountain. The trip will give them plenty of experience ahead of their big summer clash with Ian McGeechan’s British & Irish Lions side at Newlands on Saturday, June 13.