Koster and Lobberts back in training
Rynhardt Elstadt, Joe Pietersen and Burton Francis still aren’t ready to return to the playing field, but the good news for Western Province is that slowly but surely players who have been injured are starting to filter back into training.
Duane Vermeulen made his return to the playing field in his team’s hard- fought 25-20 win over Griquas in Kimberley at the weekend, and with Siya Kolisi released from Springbok duty, Allister Coetzee will be able to select a loose trio for Saturday’s match against the Lions in Johannesburg that may be stronger than the one that ended the Super Rugby season for the Stormers.
And soon he will have the option of being able to play Nick Koster again too. Like skipper Schalk Burger, Koster has struggled for a few months now with a knee injury that just didn’t seem to go away.
However he has apparently made good progress in his rehabilitation just recently, and the No 8 was back in training on Monday, along with Hilton Lobberts, who broke his arm earlier in the season. Neither Koster nor Lobberts is available just yet, but they should be back in a couple of weeks to further bolster the WP options.
WP captain Deon Fourie (ankle), vice-captain Marcel Brache (cut eye) and wing Ederies Arendse (ankle) did not train on Monday but coach Allister Coetzee says all three will be fit to face the Lions.
Although Scarra Ntubeni played well as a replacement against Griquas, Fourie is likely to lead the team from hooker rather than flank.
The other WP hooker, Tiaan Liebenberg, is in Argentina with the Springboks and will probably sit on the bench in Saturday’s return Castle Rugby Championship clash against the Pumas in Mendoza.