Springbok Marius Joubert will be ready to be considered for the Vodacom Stormers first warm-up match of the season, against the Bulls at Newlands next Saturday.
His fellow Springbok, Joe van Niekerk, will however miss the first four matches of the new Super 14 competition. The No 8 has still trouble from a wrist injury.
This was the news from the Vodacom Stormers camp after they’ve reassembled at their Bellville training facility for the second leg of their preparation for the Southern Hemisphere’s tough rugby competition.
Joubert had a disappointing season last year, due to a loss of form and injuries. The explosive centre missed the Springboks’ end of year tour because of a shoulder injury. He has recovered from surgery though and is raring to go, said Vodacom Stormers coach Kobus van der Merwe.
The Cape regional team starts its campaign with an away match against the Cats at Ellis Park on February 11.
More good news is that promising Western Province lock Andries Bekker is another on the comeback trial from injury. The tall youngster missed the crucial last part of WP’s Currie Cup campaign last year with a hand injury.
His return in time for the first match is a real bonus, particularly with the recent news that Rob Linde would miss the entire Super 14 campaign because of a neck injury.
“Andries could not have returned at a more appropriate time,” commented Van der Merwe. “Rob is going to miss all of the Super 14 and that is a massive setback to us.”
The coach added that prop Neil Fullard is also battling an injury and that the odds on him playing in the competition are not good. “Therefore I am a bit concerned about the lack of depth among the tight forwards.”
The coach added that the was fortunate to have Boland’s Henk Eksteen and WP’s new recruit Duimpie Theron to fall back onto at lock.
Joubert is expected to start on the bench in the Vodacom Stormers’ two warm-up matches. The second one is on 28 January against the Southern Spears at Wellington.
“Marius is hungry to play again. He didn’t have a good Super 12 last year and I believe he wants to use this opportunity to prove something. He will get a chance in the warm-up games, because we need to work at his match fitness.”