Injury setback for Vodacom Stormers

PUBLISHED: February 2, 2009

The Vodacom Stormers suffered their first serious injury of the season when big Fijian wing Sireli Naqelevuki sustained rib damage in the warm-up match against Boland at Wellington and was ruled out for between two and four weeks.

Naqelevuki will miss the Stormers first Vodacom Super 14 match, against the Sharks at Newlands on 14 February, at Newlands.

The Stormers started the game without most of their top guns and initially found it tough to penetrate the Boland defence on Saturday. Once the stars entered the fray in the second half things improved immediately and they eventually won at a canter (55-14).

Coach Rassie Erasmus was reasonably happy with the performance. “If you have 28 or 29 guys in the mix you could expect that you don’t have much continuity. Guys such as George Earl got 35 minute and Hilton (Lobberts) 20 minutes, so I think in that regard it was a success.

“We as coaching staff knew before the game that it would be difficult to get continuity but I think we saw what we wanted to see. And if we want to do well in the Super 14 we need 30 players who could fall in, in case we get one or two injuries. I think they passed the test.”

Erasmus was impressed with the confidence shown by some of his players. He said the midfield combination of Jean de Villiers and Gcobani Bobo was brilliant. “Guys such as Duane (Vermeulen) slotted in nicely. Adriaan Fondse, Andries Bekker and Brian Mujati came through well for 60 minutes.

“JD Moller scrummed well with Schalk Brits. It is a negative that Sireli got injured but there weren’t too many negatives.”

The big Tongan wing Alipate Fataheti made enough of an impression on Erasmus for him to remain in Cape Town, although he said it would take some time for Fataheti to get used to the Stormers way of doing things.

“If you think of a guy like Sireli who also took some time to get into the systems and stuff. But I think we all can see there is something special about him. He is a big guy, has got great feet, he can kick a ball well and have good hands too, but I think you have to be fair to all the other guys. We have to anticipate injuries and stuff like that…

“I think he will stay with us and if we can get the paperwork done this week it will be great.”