WP coach Allister Coetzee faces a selection dilemma ahead of his side's clash with the Blue Bulls at Newlands on Saturday.
Western Province coach Allister Coetzee faces a selection dilemma ahead of his side's clash with the Blue Bulls at Newlands on Saturday.
Springbok hooker Tiaan Liebenberg's back injury flared up again in last weekend's win over the Eastern Province Kings and he is to undergo a scan to assess the severity of the injury.
But although Liebenberg will miss the clash with Bulls this weekend, utility forward Rynhardt Elstadt, hooker Scarra Ntubeni, prop Brok Harris, fly-half Kurt Coleman and utility back Jaco Taute – who all missed the clash with the Kings – were back at training on Monday and could return to action against the Bulls, who suffered a humiliating defeat to the Golden Lions in their Currie Cup opener last weekend.
Taute – who was on compassionate leave last weekend – is set to return via the replacements bench along with Coleman and Elstadt but Coetzee still has to decide whether Ntubeni returns straight to the run-on side or if Stephan Coetzee must wear the number two jersey.
Demetri Catrakilis had a good allround game against the Kings and appears to have moved above Coleman – who finished the Stormers' Super Rugby campaign as the first-choice fly-half – in the pecking order.
“It's healthy competition there,” Coetzee told Supersport.
“When Demetri got injured against the Lions in Super Rugby it was Kurt who came in and took his opportunity and he ended up playing throughout Super Rugby, and the same thing has happened now, with Kurt getting injured and Demetri taking his opportunity.
“I thought he played really well (against the Kings).”
There is plenty of speculation over where Taute will play in the back-line upon his return. His preferred position is full-back but Coetzee is keen to give him a run in the number 12 jersey at some stage.
“We have Jean de Villiers and Damian de Allende missing so there is a potential weakness in the midfield and Jaco has played there before,” added the coach.
“He is a big player, the sort of player we need at inside centre to get the momentum up by taking the ball across the gainline.”
That is unlikely to happen this week as Coetzee was happy with Michael van der Spuy's showing against the Kings..
“Michael brings the left footed option that we miss now that Gio Aplon has left us,” said Coetzee.
“I thought he did well against the Kings.”
Coetzee is excited about Elstadt's return, after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
“We can't expect him to be at his best just yet, but Rynhardt brings the physical presence that maybe we will lose with Eben Etzebeth going to the Boks,” he added.
“That physicality will be important against the Bulls.”