Liebenberg joins walking wounded

PUBLISHED: March 24, 2014

DHL Stormers hooker Tiaan Liebenberg has also flown home from his team’s Vodacom Super Rugby tour of Australia, joining Schalk Burger who returned to Cape Town on Sunday.

Burger is out with a slightly torn quad muscle, whilst Liebenberg suffered a lower neck impingement against the Brumbies on Saturday and will consult a specialist this week once he arrives back home.

At this stage Liebenberg will be out of action for at least three weeks, with Coetzee also sweating over the fitness of lock Ruan Botha who took a knock to his ankle during his team’s gut-wrenching 15-25 loss in Canberra.

“Ruan injured the ankle that was operated on last year and, at this stage, he has a 50 percent chance of being fit for the next match against the Reds (on Saturday),” DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee told www.iamastormer.com from Brisbane on Monday.

“In the case of Schalk (Burger) we’ll wait and see what the specialist’s report says before we know how long he’ll be sidelined,” added Coetzee, “but we expect Siya Kolisi to be ready since he has responded well to ongoing treatment (on his AC Joint).”

Powerful lock Tazz Fuzani and 20-year-old flanker Sikhumbuzo Notshe – two stars of the DHL Western Province Vodacom Cup team – departed for Australia on Monday afternoon and will join up with the DHL Stormers squad in Brisbane.

Said Coetzee: “We have flown over Tazz Fuzani (lock) and Sikhumbuzo Notshe (flank) as injury replacements and both of them will come in the reckoning for the matchday squad this week.

“Deon Fourie will start as a hooker this week and Stephan Coetzee, who joined us on tour last week, will be the reserve.”

With Fourie set to move from the side of the scrum back to hooker this week, that would leave space for both Nizaam Carr and Siya Kolisi to combine with Springbok star Duane Vermeulen in a new-look loose trio.

“Duane Vermeulen has been playing so well this season and I would not like to move him (from No.8),” said Coetzee. “Nizaam and Siya will come into contention for places on the side of the scrum.”

Fullback Jaco Taute, who missed last week’s match because of an ongoing AC Joint problem, will come back into the selection equation for the DHL Stormers’ final tour match against the Reds on Saturday. (Kick-off 10h40 SA time.)

The DHL Stormers team – to take on the Reds in Brisbane – will be announced on Wednesday mid-morning (SA time).