--%>
Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Rugby | Vodacom Super Rugby

Aplon may still face Crusaders



Wing Gio Aplon and loose-forward Nick Koster are the only two players on the doubtful list for the Stormers’ second Super Rugby tour match against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday.

Aplon sustained a hip pointer injury shortly after halftime during the Stormers’ excellent opening tour victory against the Highlanders in Dunedin at the weekend.

Coach Allister Coetzee said after the 21-6 win that the Springbok’s condition would be assessed during the week, but Aplon has let it be known via Twitter that he is recovering fast and is no longer feeling the pain that he was.

Should he miss out, however, the Stormers do have a ready replacement in the shape of former Bulls star Gerhard van den Heever, who has impressed during the time that he has been working with the Cape franchise.

Presumably JP du Plessis, the exciting young centre who returned to the Cape from Melbourne during the offseason, would then slot into Van den Heever’s place on the bench.

Koster’s readiness to play could have an impact on Coetzee’s thinking when it comes to the selection of the pack.

Rynhardt Elstadt did well on the flank in his second successive outing there against the Highlanders, but there is talk of Andries Bekker perhaps getting a rest this week by playing off the bench.

If Koster is ready to take up the No 8 position, Duane Vermeulen could move back to the flank and Elstadt in to partner Eben Etzebeth in the second row.

Deon Fourie also played well when he came on in the second half and might be in line for a start. Coetzee has said that he wants his freshest 22 to be up for the Crusaders match.

However, changes would be a big call for Coetzee to make after the last two wins over the Bulls and the Highlanders, particularly as this match assumes extra significance for his team.

After losing twice to Crusaders last year, once in league play and again in the semifinal – both matches at Newlands – the Stormers will want to win this one and the next game against the Reds (who also beat them at Newlands last year) to erase any thoughts of there being a psychological barrier for them to overcome after 2011.

It has been a long time since a South African team last won in Christchurch so a victory to the Stormers would be another massive step forward psychologically.

And of course there is also the not insignificant consideration of the big blow that such a result would deliver to a Crusaders team that is starting to lose too often for comfort in the early part of this Super Rugby season.

Shop

The Poisoned Chalice
The Springboks have had several post-isolation coaches, and if they agree on nothing else, they will concur that everyone in the job suffers enormous pressure
R157.00
Coach - Marco Botha
At 34, Heyneke Meyer was fired as head coach of a Super Rugby team for the second time
R114.00
South Africa XV Ball
South Africa XV Ball Now: R119 Was: R200 Format:Sport EquipmentProduct type:SportDelivery:Dispatched within 24 hours (1 working day) This fan ball...
R119.00


Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Other Live Streaming

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Sports Talk



Brenden Nel
Time for World Rugby to lead the game
The International Rugby Board recently changed its name to World Rugby. Isn’t it time that they...

Brendan Venter
Bok attack lacks explosive edge
Prior to the Padova test, public opinion suggested that the Springboks would put 50 points past...

Tony Johnson
Time for some downtime
I’m writing this in the Air New Zealand Lounge at Los Angeles, making my weary way home from the...

Gavin Rich
Boks need 'X-factor' coach
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has blamed his team’s laboured attacking game against Italy on the...

Alistair Hargreaves
Great to host a vibrant WP
The club season in the Northern hemisphere is long. We played our first match on August 15 and the...