Vodacom Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus was not too optimistic about the chances of his injured wings to depart with the rest of the squad on Thursday for the overseas leg of their Vodacom Super 14 campaign.
Nick Koster started the match but had to leave the field on a stretcher in the first half after sustaining a knee injury. His replacement, Tonderai Chavhanga, was on the field very briefly before crying off with a hamstring injury.
The Stormers then had to shift outside centre Gcobani Bobo to wing and replacement flyhalf was forced to make an earlier than anticipated entrance at centre. These disruptions couldn’t stop the Stormers though from playing some irresistible rugby in a 56-18 drubbing of the Lions at Newlands on Saturday.
Erasmus was full of praise for his charges who bounced back after suffering three defeats in four starts this season to hand themselves a fighting chance for a playoff spot. “I’m just glad a guy like Nick really made it at wing because I think it was a big call for us taking a guy like that to wing.
“He’s done really well. When he got injured it was a bit of a blow for us but we thought okay we had a world-class wing to put on but within 5 second he pulled his hamstring. So it was really well done to them to react the way they did with a deficit of 12 or so points.
“Obviously they both are in doubt for the tour. You know now the squad system with the 36 guys starting the preseason needs to help us. But we’ll have to see – I’m not quite sure – even if you ask me now I can’t give you the names. We’ll make that call after these guys have had some scans done.
“We’ve been through some hectic times these four weeks and I think if we haven’t gone through that this might have rocked us on the field today. We have been through some tough times together since last year and that pulled the guys really through.”
Erasmus admitted he doesn’t have any hope of either of Koster and Chavhanga being fit to play in the first game, against the Crusaders on March 28 in Christchurch.
“One is off on a stretcher and the other one was on for 5 seconds. They will have scans tomorrow, but I think it is not positive that one of them would go on tour… maybe a bit later, but I don’t think any of them would be on that flight on Thursday.”
The coach said the two early tries by the Lions shocked him. “I think I was just as shocked after those two quick tries by them, so credit to the players. We had a tough four weeks.
“Today (in their win over the Sharks) we saw the Reds were a better team than everybody actually thought. We were feeling the heat and obviously when you start the game within seven minutes with two soft tries like that the only thing that really can pull you through is the players really believing in one another and the systems they put into place.
“I’m just glad for them. They stuck to their guns. It wasn’t part of our planning I can promise you that, those two tries.”
Substitute hooker Deon Fourie is the only other injury concern but Erasmus said he wasn’t too concerned about it.