CAPE TOWN – One of the Stormers’ main missions will be to get their Springbok players ready for Super Rugby 2020.
At a media briefing in Bellville, Cape Town, yesterday, head coach John Dobson spoke about the challenge of getting his Boks ready in time to run out on February 1 against the Hurricanes.
“They were going to return on December 2, with the exception of Pieter-Steph (du Toit) whose body is a bit sore. That was agreed when we did the contracts. But after they spent a week on a bus, we may just be pushing that back a week or two. They definitely won’t be at our training camp,” Dobson said.
“I think six or seven of the first nine games are at home. From a business point of view and from a public expectation and log point of view, we need to win those games because we only tour very late.
“So, we can’t run out at Newlands without Pieter-Steph or Siya (Kolisi) in those games. We need those wins.
“We can’t give a luxury of a late start like the New Zealand teams. We have to get momentum early. So it is going to be a management issue of getting them back into rugby and conditioned over Christmas.”
Dobson also addressed their injury list of 2019 and their depth going into 2020.
The Stormers had a number of players with long-term injuries, and Dobson confirmed that all of them will be ready come February.
They’re still uncertain about hooker Ramone Samuels, who sustained an ankle injury early this year, though.
“We’re a little bit thin at centre. We’ve got two really good youngsters in Matt Moore and Rikus Pretorius, and we’ve of course got Michal Hazner as well,” the coach explained.
“There’s Ruhan (Nel) and Dan (du Plessis), and Ruhan might be going to Tokyo for the Olympics. So, centre the at nine we don’t really have a proven back-up No 9; Herschel (Jantjies) has become one, so we might look at keeping Jano (Vermaak) on in some sort of capacity.
“Those are probably our two flashpoints.
“All the guys who had long-term injuries, like Johan du Toit, Dan du Plessis, and Cobus Wiese, are ready for the start of Super Rugby, but the guy we’ve got grave concerns about is Ramone; I think he’s possibly got a career-ending injury.
“It’s very sad. He’s got a nerve that’s not regenerating in his ankle, that break was so bad.
“I think the call is going to be made in February. It’s very sad.”