Halfback crisis persists

2011-06-17 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Peter Grant may be back in the team, but the Stormers’ halfback crisis is still not over, with Dewaldt Duvenhage now in serious doubt for tomorrow’s final Super Rugby league game against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

Duvenhage went over on his ankle against the Brumbies in Canberra a few weeks ago. The injury forced him to return home from the overseas tour a week early, thus meaning that he missed the 40-3 win over the Rebels in Melbourne. However, he played from the bench in last week’s defeat to the Bulls at Newlands, taking up flyhalf in place of Kurt Coleman in the second half.

Although Duvenhage has been named in the team for the match against the Cheetahs, he was only able to watch as his team trained before a downpour forced them from the field at the High Performance Centre on Wednesday. Coach Allister Coetzee said that his missing training was only a precautionary measure, but it has been learned that his participation in the match is in doubt.

Should he miss out yet another of last year’s all-conquering Western Province U21 stars will be making his first start for the Stormers. Louis Schreuder flew to Australia to be part of the match squad for the Rebels game, but should he find himself wearing the No. 9, this will be his first start at this level.

Schreuder was named on the Stormers bench on Wednesday as it is understood that Ricky Januarie has broken his hand. It may well be that the Stormers’ management have also decided to move on from Januarie, who is taking up a contract with a French club at the conclusion of the Super Rugby season.

Schreuder is highly enough rated by the Stormers management that they opted to back him rather than Conrad Hoffmann, who moved to the Sharks. So it is not as though he is a player who lacks ability.

Nic Groom will be the man who comes onto the Stormers bench should Duvenhage be ruled out.

“Dewaldt was a bit stiff on Wednesday. But I am positive that he could make it for Saturday. He is just tight around the quad muscle and because of the treatment he has received I am just being cautious as he could aggravate his condition if he runs in the wet,” said Coetzee.

The Stormers have the carrot of having a bye week in which all the struggling players can recover before a home semi-final if they win against the Cheetahs tomorrow. Apart from the scrumhalf position, the team looks on paper to be the strongest selected so far this season, with the Stormers opting to include all three Springbok centres, with Jean de Villiers playing on the wing and Gio Aplon moving to fullback.

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