Decision time for Stormers coach
With the competition kicking off on Friday this could be said to be the first Monday of the working season for the Stormers, and it is decision time for coach Allister Coetzee.
He is set to announce his team for the first match against the Bulls in Pretoria on Friday after a training session at the High Performance centre on Monday afternoon, and he will be holding thumbs that everything runs smoothly so that he can stick to his plans.
At this stage the plan appears to be that he will introduce team captain Schalk Burger off the bench at Loftus, with Elton Jantjies starting in the No 10 jersey even though the Lions pivot hasn’t had a chance to play a game for his new franchise as yet.
Burger ran to test his troublesome calf towards the end of last week and it apparently went well for him, but Coetzee will want to see how the injury stands up now that the flanker is coming back from two days of rest over the weekend before making a final decision on what he will do for Loftus.
Another decision that Coetzee has to make is his choice of No 4 lock to replace the injured Springbok, Eben Etzebeth.
There was talk last week that Rynhardt Elstadt might get the nod to move from the blindside flank as he was a revelation at lock in the 2011 season.
However if Burger is not going to start it seems more likely that Elstadt will continue on the flank in this match, with De Kock Steenkamp joining Andries Bekker in the second row.
There is still a chance that Juan de Jongh might play against the Bulls if he trains on Monday, though that seems unlikely, so Damian de Allende will probably continue at inside centre with Jean de Villiers wearing the No 13 alongside him.
Peter Grant is back in Cape Town as his wife is due to give birth to their first child but contractual obligations will prevent him from playing in Pretoria as his Japanese club Kobe are still in competition.
It does seem likely though that he will be back for the game against the Sharks in Durban the following week.
It’s going to be interesting to see what Coetzee does at scrumhalf, where he has Dewaldt Duvenage, Louis Schreuder and Nic Groom all available.
Possible Stormers team: Jaco Taute, Gio Aplon, Jean de Villiers, Damian de Allende, Bryan Habana, Elton Jantjies, Dewaldt Duvenage, Duane Vermeulen, Rynhardt Elstadt, Siya Kolisi, Andries Bekker, De Kock Steenkamp, Pat Cilliers, Deon Fourie, Steven Kitshoff.