Taute blow for Stormers
Springbok fullback Jaco Taute has been ruled out of the DHL Stormers team for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Sharks in Durban and Juan de Jongh is still not 100% sure of playing in the game.
That was the news to come out of the Stormers camp on Monday as they continued to pick up the pieces from last week’s defeat to the Vodacom Bulls and started to focus on the potentially grudge replay of October’s Currie Cup final at the same Kings Park venue.
Taute, one of the players from the Lions who are on loan to the Stormers for the season, injured his groin at Loftus and coach Allister Coetzee has already crossed his name off the list of possible starters for Durban.
As it turns out, Taute’s absence could answer the question about who wears the No 10 jersey against the Sharks. Although Elton Jantjies kicked poorly out of hand at Loftus and looked rusty in general play, the main concern was his goalkicking failures. He missed four out of four attempts at posts before the place-kicking duties were transferred to replacement Joe Pietersen, who enjoyed far greater success.
With Taute out of the game, Pietersen is now a likely starter at fullback against the Sharks, which means that Jantjies can play and the place-kicking base would still be covered. The smart money should be on Peter Grant making his return by playing off the bench this weekend, with Coetzee hinting that he would give Jantjies a second chance to make his mark.
“You’ve got to keep a level head when making selections and we have to remember that while we were very disappointed with our defeat at Loftus, particularly with the mistakes that led to us being so flat in the first half, it was only the first game and not the match immediately before a playoff,” said Coetzee.
“We were aware beforehand that we weren’t going to get out of the blocks at 100 miles an hour in Pretoria, and the good thing is that we know that should it not come off again this coming weekend, then we do have other players we can fall back on. Sometimes when you lose games you just have to stand up and be counted.
“In the warm-ups before the Loftus game Elton was slotting every kick. Pressure might have something to do with his misses. Goalkickers understand they have to be mentally tough, which was why we gave him a chance to get it right (after the first few misses). You get the guy's confidence back by persisting with him. But Elton remains a quality player, and Joe did a good job for us when he came on.”
De Jongh, the hero of the Western Province win in last year’s Currie Cup final, will get a chance to prove his fitness in training on Tuesday, and only after he has done that will be he cleared to play at Kings Park.
To other players who sustained knocks against the Bulls, scrumhalf Nic Groom and prop Pat Cilliers, will be available for selection.