Coetzee happy to start with Sinclair
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has continued to increase his phone bill with overseas calls, but he says he will be happy to give Canadian international Jebb Sinclair his first Super Rugby start against the Waratahs at Newlands on Saturday.
Western Province Vodacom Cup players Nick Fenton-Wells and Don Armand have been added to the Stormers squad as back-up to the three players who finished in the loose-trio against the Cheetahs – Sinclair, Rynhardt Elstadt and Siya Kolisi – after Nizaam Carr was forced off the field with a knee ligament injury that has ruled him out for the season.
One of those players will be returned to the WP side after Tuesday’s training sessions, with Coetzee determined to keep disruption to John Dobson’s team to a minimum as they play the Vodacom Cup final in Kimberley on Friday. Fenton-Wells is the captain of the side.
“I will release one of them. I would prefer not to disrupt the WP side as we all want them to win, WP has never won a Vodacom Cup, but Super Rugby comes first,” said Coetzee.
Neither of the two players would be seen as potential starters at No 8. Instead, they would cover the two flank positions, with Siya Kolisi likely to move to the back of the scrum if Sinclair gets injured.
“People keep asking, so I must stress again – we brought in Sinclair as a specialist No 8 as neither Armand or Fenton-Wells play No 8. Nick has been captaining the Vodacom Cup side from No 8, but he is essentially an openside flank and is not a lineout option for us. I need a lineout option there as Duane Vermeulen offered that to us.
“Jebb is also there for his experience. You mustn’t forget that none of the other loose-forwards have been playing Super Rugby for long. Siya Kolisi has had a great season but he did not start the season as first choice. When I watched the video of the Cheetahs game afterwards I was pleased with Jebb’s contribution.
“That experience I was talking about came out when Cheetahs flyhalf Riaan Smit made a break that would have set up a certain try for the Cheetahs between the posts had it not been for Jebb’s decision not to tackle the man with the ball but instead to anticipate where it was going. That sort of decision-making only comes with experience.”
Coetzee said he was still on the look-out for overseas reinforcements and had made a few phone calls.
“There haven’t been a lot (of phone calls) but it doesn’t harm one to find out what is out there and who is available,” said Coetzee.
"At the moment Jebb Sinclair does have the inside track. I was happy with his contribution against the Cheetahs and I would be happy to start with him against the Waratahs.
“But the attrition rate in this very tough Super Rugby competition has become such that being limited to 35 player squads that you have to work with is no longer enough. Schalk Burger, Duane Vermeulen and Nick Koster will be back in July, but in the meantime we do need to make a plan for the next three games against the Waratahs, the Sharks and the Bulls.
“We may be okay at the moment but what happens if another loose-forward goes down injured. The rate it is happening at the moment anything is possible.”