FEATURED

Smal happy after session with new hooker

PUBLISHED: April 5, 2005



Newly recruited Investec Stormers hooker Lukas van Biljon had his first training session with his new teammates on Tuesday and coach Gert Smal afterwards expressed his satisfaction.

Van Biljon was roped in to fill the boots of Hanyani Shimange, who sustained an injury to his sternum in training last week. Former Springbok hooker Van Biljon flew in on Tuesday morning and trained with the Stormers at Bellville in the afternoon.

Smal said he was planning to give Shimange a start against the Reds at Newlands this Saturday, but the injury put a spanner in the works.

“I planned to give Shimmy a start this week, but the injury to him was a bit unfortunate. We will, however, monitor his recovery week by week and see how he comes along.

“We don’t want to write players off for the season at this stage. It is important for the position in which he plays that he doesn’t suffer too much discomfort with the injury and is capable of producing his best play at all times.”

Smal said at this stage it is difficult to predict how long Shimange would be sidelined. The coach said it could be only for a short period, or it could be longer. “We don’t want to make predictions and will take it week by week.

“We have a player here now that we brought in after consultation with the convener of the national selectors, Peter Jooste, and the Springbok coach, Jake White.”

Smal added that Van Biljon went through a few things with him on Tuesday morning and also trained in the afternoon. “He slotted in reasonably easy.”

The Stormers side will be announced on Wednesday. Smal, however, said Bolla Conradie would get his first start this season in place of regular captain Neil de Kock.

Battle-hardened centre De Wet Barry will be leading the team.