The Vodacom Stormers preparation for Saturday’s Super 14 match against the Hurricanes at Newlands was marred by the uncertainty over the fitness of captain Jean de Villiers.
Jean has been laid low by a bout of the flu this week and he didn’t take part in training at all.
On Friday Stormers media manager Frikkie Erasmus, however, was optimistic that the Springbok centre would be fit to lead his side on Saturday.
“I am on my way now to captain’s practice,” said Eramus. “I’ve spoken to Jean last night and he was reasonably optimistic that he was going to be ready to play.
“Obviously we would give him all the time to recover, but we believe he will be ready. We’ll just get final confirmation at the captain’s run.”
Rain is expected at Newlands on Saturday and coach Rassie Erasmus doesn’t expect his machine to run all that smoothly on Saturday.
“Without a doubt we can expect some hiccups here and there. I think it happened all over this season. “If you just look at when the Crusaders made a few changes they went down 6-3 to the Lions at halftime. A guy like Dylan hasn’t played a lot of rugby over the last three, four weeks.
“The same with Schalla (Schalk Ferreira), but we’ve prepared for that. We certainly know it won’t be free flowing because we know we are playing against a team who had six or seven of their games really competitive scores where they came within five or four points.
“We know its going to be a tough one and we are prepared to slug it out we have to.”
Stormers: 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Dylan Des Fountain, 13 Gcobani Bobo, 12 Jean De Villiers (captain), 11 Sireli Naqelevuki, 10 Tony Brown, 9 Bolla Conradie, 8 Luke Watson, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Ross Skeate, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Schalk Ferreira. Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Adriaan Fondse, 19 Robbie Diack, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Peter Grant, 22 Gio Aplon.
Highlanders: 15 Paul Williams, 14 Matt Saunders, 13 Brett Mather, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Fetu’u Vainikolo, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Jimmy Cowan (vice-captain), 8 Steven Setephano, 7 Alando Soakai, 6 Craig Newby (captain), 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Hayden Triggs, 3 Clint Newland, 2 Jason Macdonald, 1 Jamie Mackintosh. Replacements: 16 David Hall, 17 Keith Cameron, 18 Hoani MacDonald, 19 Tim Boys, 20 Toby Morland, 21 Blair Stewart, 22 Aaron Bancroft.
Referee: James Leckie (Australia)