OPINION: Who will wear the No 9 jersey?

These are tough times for the Stormers.

While the entire rugby landscape is feeling the effects of the coronavirus outbreak, the Stormers have been burdened with even more through injury.

During a press conference earlier this week, Stormers coach John Dobson spoke about their current injury situation.

Springbok stars Herschel Jantjies, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Steven Kitshoff are all new additions to their injury list, and while there is never a good time to be struck with injury, the rugby break at least now buys the Stormers some time in that regard.

One of their biggest injuries is of course to Jantjies, who will spend around three months on the sidelines with a fractured fibula sustained during their 24-14 loss to the Sharks last weekend.

No other scrumhalf in the Western Cape – scratch that, South Africa – can unseat Jantjies at the moment.

But should the Super Rugby competition resume sooner rather than later, here are three scrumhalf options the Stormers have while Jantjies works his way back to fitness.

Godlen Masimbla

Dobson has made no secret of his thoughts on the 27-year-old.

Masimla made his first start of the season in the Stormers’ Super Rugby meeting with the Lions at Ellis Park earlier this year, and if there’s one thing he has in common with Jantjies, it’s his ability to inject some excitement into a game.

His crisp service will always make him a treat to watch and, at the moment, he can certainly be considered next in line to Jantjies.

Masimla has speed, he has a top step and if you move off him, he’ll make you pay for it. His defence is good his speed across the ground and around the fringes is superb. All out excitement.

Paul de Wet

De Wet got a run in the Stormers’ trip to Kings Park, and while his pace is no doubt one of the first things you’ll notice about him, his work as a scrumhalf isn’t too low on his list of offerings either.

He probably won’t beat Masimla to a starting berth if you had to bring someone in for Jantjies, but he certainly offers enough to help you rest assured that things will still get done with him in the No 9 jersey.

Justin Phillips

At one stage seen as the official back-up to experienced guys like Jano Vermaak and Dewaldt Duvenage, Phillips has since slipped down the pecking order of No 9s at the Stormers’ disposal and, at the moment, it’s hard to see him beat De Wet or Masimla, especially to the official back-up position.


Cape Times

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