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All is not well in the Stomers camp

09 February 2012, 07:05

By Jody Hendricks

The first warning sign that all is not well in the Stomers camp has emerged. Wing Bryan Habana will wear the no 13 jersey in their clash against the Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.  The Cape side offloaded a number of talented centre’s at the end of last season. They failed to secure a deal with Former Springbok centre Adrian Jacobs at the start of the pre-season and the departure of Jacques Fourie to Japan, Tim Whitehead to the Sharks and Johan Sadie to the Bulls has left them with very little back-up to stalwarts Jean De Villiers and Juan De Jongh.

With De Jongh suffering from a cheek injury sustained in Lions clash two weeks ago, Stormers mentor Alistair Coetzee (who is without the expertise of Rassie Erasmus) has selected out of form wing Bryan Habana at outside centre.

Coetzee has done this before though. As Springbok assistant coach in 2007 he and Jake White selected Habana at number 13 against the Barbarians in 2007, he looked out of place in that game and had a disastrous outing in the Boks 22-5 defeat.

Youngsters like Marcell Brache and JP Du Plessis have also not put their hand up in the pre-season games and with the Super 15 around the corner, Coetzee will be hoping that his first choice duo of De Villiers and De Jongh will go through the season injury free.  

The fact that Coetzee is also still undecided about who his number 10 pivot is going to be this season has added the shuffle in the midfield. Coetzee cold have selected Burton Francis at no 12 (a position he has played for at the Bulls and the Lions) and move Jean De Villiers to outside centre. By doing this could have given Habana more game time on the wing.

The Stormers team will almost be at full strength, only Captain Schalk Burger who played in an under-strength team that faced the cheetahs this past weekend will be missing. But that was done to avoid a clash with Kings Captain and old foe Luke Watson.

The Stormers should easily beat the Kings on Saturday but the selection of Habana at no 13 is either preparing them for back-up in case anything happens to De Jongh or De Villiers. Or it’s a sign that Coetzee is panicking without Rassie there to hold his hand…

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