The Vodacom Stormers and Western Province suffered a massive injury setback when fullback Conrad Jantjes broke his leg in the Vodacom Super 14 match against the Chiefs at Newlands on Saturday.
The Chiefs won the match 28-14 to stay in the hunt for a semi-final spot. The Springbok fullback tried to secure the ball with a soccer style slide in the 10th minute after kicking it forward but made contact with Chiefs flank Liam Messam and stayed down. He had to leave the field on the medical team’s cart.
After the match Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus had really bad news for Stormers supporters. “It is really serious. He is going to be out for a long time. His leg is broken. I don’t know how serious the break is, but it seemed to me the leg was turned the wrong way round, so it is really serious.
“I just hope he can get healthy as soon as possible. It is bad for him. His Lions tour is gone. It is sad for him and a massive setback for us – not that it caught us offside because we had a few of those this year. I think a guy like Tiger Bax tried his heart out. He really tried on the attack.
“It was a difficult game for him to start and I don’t think it is his fault that we have lost. It just was one helluva step up for such a young guy after we have lost Pecy and Connie.”
The coach said he was impressed with the young talent coming through in the province at the moment. “Guys such as Wicus Blaauw, Dewaldt Duvenhage, Morgan Newman, Tiger Bax, Nick Koster and Martin Muller – those are the guys who were in our squad. We nominated 36 guys instead of 30 in the beginning because I thought if we really had bad luck we needed to use all of them.
“Now we unfortunately had a bit of bad luck with injuries and I think a guy like Martin Muller put up his hand nicely. For a guy who only joined us on Wednesday he put up his hand nicely. Tiger tried and we want to give the local boys a chance to try. Hilton (Lobberts) had a good 60 minutes today at the front lock, so I think we are on the right track as far as that is concerned.”
Captain Schalk Burger was another injury concern. The Springbok flank left the field in the 32nd minute and Pieter Louw replaced him. “I hurt my calf. I will go for a scan on Monday and then it would be clear how things look,” said the player.
Erasmus said there was no lack of commitment from the players’ side. “With all respect I think our team really pitched for the party. I think at this stage I can say with honesty this team that played against our team is just a better team.
“I don’t think there was a lack of commitment. That is a sad thing to say when you lose with a 14 point margin and you guys tried every thing that they could. I just think at this stage because of various factors the Chiefs are a better side than us.
“I don’t think they were more motivated or tried harder than us. I thought our guys having lost our captain and our star fullback and with all the other injuries – that rattled the guys a little bit. I was actually a bit shocked that we could get another injury.
“I don’t think there was an attitude problem. We definitely pitched up for the game and I don’t think they were hungrier than us.”