The DHL Stormers will kick-off their 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby campaign without exciting winger Cheslin Kolbe.
Kolbe, who made such an impressive start to his Absa Currie Cup career last year, will have to wait a bit longer to make his Super Rugby debut after suffering a knee injury on Tuesday.
DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee told www.iamastormer.com: “Cheslin will be out for at least eight weeks with a torn lateral meniscus. He will be operated on soon.”
According to Coetzee, the SA Sevens and DHL Western Province speedster hurt himself in a freak accident at training in Hermanus and subsequent scans on Wednesday morning revealed the full extent of the damage.
“It really was a freak accident,” lamented Coetzee. “Someone collided with him and his foot was caught… and his knee (just) buckled.
“You normally get a few (injury) casualties at this time of the season, but it’s a blow to lose an exciting player like Cheslin and, especially, because it will test our depth amongst our back three before the season has even started.
“We will keep our ears to the ground in terms of possibly recruiting a wing, but we will back what we have in the shape of our youngsters like Pat Howard and Kobus van Wyk – who deserve to be rewarded after their 2013 Under-21 season – and, of course, we also have Scott van Breda who is on loan with us from the Kings.
“We are lucky to have some exciting young players in our system,” added Coetzee, “and we’re also fortunate that there’s great continuity between our Absa Currie Cup and Vodacom Super Rugby squads.”
Meanwhile, Coetzee revealed that Springbok back Jaco Taute would be eased back during the DHL Stormers’ three pre-season matches, the powerful star having had his debut season in the Cape – last year – cut short by a serious knee injury.
“Jaco had tough injury and he needs to be managed,” explained Coetzee.
“Structurally, the knee is fine, but you can’t just rush someone back from a serious injury (like his). His conditioning is good, but we will be looking at giving him gradual game time ahead of the Super Rugby season as that will tell us if he is ready to make his return come the start of the season proper.”