It is official. Juan de Jongh will not be running out for the Vodacom Stormers in Saturday’s Vodacom Super 14 match against the Cheetahs at Newlands.
The promising young centre injured an elbow in the victory over the Hurricanes at Newlands on Saturday. Scans on Monday revealed the midfield dynamo would be unable to play this Saturday and possibly also miss the team’s opening match of the overseas leg of their campaign – against the Western Force in Perth on April 2.
De Jongh and experienced Springbok Jaque Fourie formed a potent midfield combination thus far this season and coach Allister Coetzee would rue the fact he has to break up the partnership. De Jongh impressed at outside centre for Vodacom Western Province during last year’s Currie Cup campaign.
This season he was moved to inside centre to accommodate Fourie and he adapted admirably.
Coetzee admitted he would have to think hard and long about the changes – as substitute flyhalf Lionel Cronje has also been ruled out.
“I suppose it’s between Willem de Waal and Conrad Hoffman at this point in time. Willem at 10 and Peter Grant at 12 is an option we’ve always been looking at, and we trained like that at stages in the pre-season.
“But I also must say Peter is playing so well at 10. He is the heart and soul of the team’s attack at this point in time, and you don’t want to make two changes when you can make one.
“Time Whitehead has been with us for one or two sessions at 12 and he also may be an option to look at. And then you’ve got other centres like Dylan Des Fountain and Frikkie Welsh, but they’re all outside centres where Tim is a proper 12.”
The Vodacom Stormers team will be announced on Wednesday.