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FEATURED

DHL Stormers v Rebels – injury update

PUBLISHED: July 10, 2012



The DHL Stormers take on the RaboDirect Rebels, in their first ever match at DHL Newlands, on Saturday at 1500.

The Stormers have already secured the Conference Trophy as SA’s top side for 2012 guaranteeing the team and the Faithful a home play-off berth. With 1 round to go, the DHL Stormers need 1 point against the Rebels in this week’s game to ensure a week’s break and a home semifinal. In addition Coetzee’s men are 1 point off the top of the combined log. The Chiefs, who top the combined log, take on the Hurricanes away this week and the Stormers will know what the opportunities are and what is required before kick-off.

For the Rebels it will however be an emotional game as it is a farewell for many retiring and departing players. Captain Stirling Mortlock and Al Campbell have both announced their retirements at season’s end, while Mark Gerrard, Julian Huxley and Tom Chamberlain will play overseas in 2013.

Coach Allister Coetzee will name his team on Wednesday, but gave some insights as to injured player progress. Coetzee hinted that Bok lock Eben Etzebeth, who has been battling with a sprained ankle sustained in the international season, will not be risked. Although the player has made great progress, with Bekker, Steenkamp and Roux fit, it is considered prudent to take the cautious route and have the player ready for the play-offs. In further injury related news, Vermeulen still has a chance of recovering in time for the play-offs, but the news on Burger and Koster’s availability has been downgraded to “unlikely” with both in danger of not being available at all for the Super Season. In addition Canadian number 8 Jebb Sinclair has not been cleared by Sanzar to participate in the play-offs. On the positive side Brok Harris, who missed last week’s game with a broken nose, will return to action this week.

The last weekends games are going to be critical for a number of teams. Whilst the Chiefs and DHL Stormers are sure of playoff spots, the final makeup of the Super Rugby Qualifiers is still to be determined, with six teams in contention for the other four berths.

The Brumbies (58) moved one step closer to wrapping up the Australian Conference with their first win in Sydney since 2002 with a gritty 19-15 win over the Waratahs.

However with the Reds (53) beating the Highlanders 19-13, their sixth win in seven matches at Suncorp Stadium this year, not only are the defending champions still alive, but could still upset the Brumbies as Australian Conference champions.

While the Crusaders win over the top-of-the-table Chiefs currently gives them the top wildcard qualifying position, the Sharks (54) impressive 32-10 win over the Bulls (54) means that the Durban and Pretoria based franchises round out the current top six.

Sanzar CEO Greg Peters said that Round 18 promised an exciting conclusion to the regular season.

“With just one round to play, there are still eight teams in contention and the Australian Conference winner’s trophy up for grabs, meaning there is everything left to play for,” Peters said.

“There are literally hundreds of permutations that could occur considering just three competition points separate the fourth placed franchise in the Crusaders and the eighth placed franchise in the Hurricanes.”

“All of the seven matches in Round 18 feature a team vying for a Super Rugby Finals Series position, and we won’t know the final makeup of the top six until the Bulls and Lions play in the final match of the regular season.”

“Further to this all of the team’s out of contention could still have a significant role to play, with some upsets over Round 18 likely to again dramatically change the makeup of the final standings.”

THE RUN HOME FOR 2012 SUPER RUGBY
Round 18

Chiefs (63)
Hurricanes (a)
BEST FINISH: 1st
WORST FINISH: 2nd

Stormers (62)
Rebels (h)
BEST FINISH: 1st
WORST FINISH: 3rd

Brumbies (58)
Blues (h)
BEST FINISH: 2nd
WORST FINISH: 7th

Crusaders (56)
Force (h)
BEST FINISH: 4th
WORST FINISH: 8th

Bulls (54)
Lions (h)
BEST FINISH: 4th
WORST FINISH: 8th

Sharks (54)
Cheetahs (h)
BEST FINISH: 4th
WORST FINISH: 8th

Reds (53)
Waratahs (h)
BEST FINISH: 3rd
WORST FINISH: 8th

Hurricanes (53)
Bye, Chiefs (h)
BEST FINISH: 4th
WORST FINISH: 8th