Cape town semi-final: Number eight Duane Vermeulen out injured

2012-07-26 00:00

THE Stormers suffered a physical and mental blow yesterday when their bustling, highly regarded number eight Duane Vermeulen was ruled out of Saturday’s Super Rugby semi-final against the Sharks.

The Cape Town media and the Stormers coaching staff were confident that Vermeulen, sidelined for three months by a serious knee injury, would recover in time for the play-offs.

But it seems they were whistling in the dark and yesterday coach Allister Coetzee finally admitted that Vermeulen was not yet ready to be rushed into an intense Super Rugby semi-final.

The Stormers were desperate to field the abrasive, 116 kg Vermeulen as a counter to the Sharks’ big ball-carriers, and to help in the decisive battle on the gainline, and Coetzee yesterday admitted he had been confident the powerful number eight would be ready after he had practised last week.

“We’ve adopted a day-by-day approach with regards to Duane, and unfortunately he has not kicked on,” Coetzee said.

“We decided that it would be unfair to bring him in at this stage of the season and expect him to play at that intensity.”

Coetzee has retained the backrow which did service against the Rebels with the 100-kg Deon Fourie, usually a hooker, again at number eight.

Fourie small and tenacious, is a loose forward in the Keegan Daniel mould, said Coetzee.

“It’s true that he’s a very different player to Duane, but this is a chance for him to show his versatility against a very mobile Sharks pack.”

Coetzee, knowing how important physicality will be against the Sharks, welcomed the return from injury of Bok lock Eben Etzebeth who takes over De Kock Steenkamp in one of two changes to the team which beat the Rebels.

He said that Etzebeth could have played in the Stormers’ last game against the Rebels but had needed a wake-up call.

“Steenkamp was playing well and we felt we could continue with him against the Rebels. It will serve to motivate Eben and show him that he needs he needs to retain the form that made him a Springbok in order to play for the Stormers,” said Coetzee.

Coetzee has opted for experience in his second change to the starting side with the experienced Brok Harris replacing young tighthead Frans Malherbe.


Gio Aplon, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Deon Fourie, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Steven Kitshoff.

Replacements 16 Deon Carstens, 17 Frans Malherbe, 18 De Kock Steenkamp, 19 Don Armand, 20 Louis Schrueder, 21 Burton Francis, 22 Gerhard van den


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