Stormers eager for Vermeulen

2012-07-25 00:00

THE Stormers are hoping that their highly-rated strongman, Duane Vermeulen, will be ready to face the Sharks in the Super Rugby semi-final at Newlands on Saturday.

The Stormers were out-muscled and flattered by the 25-20 defeat in the round robin clash in Durban, and they desperately want Vermeulen back to help contain Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee and Bismarck du Plessis at Newlands.

Last week, the Stormers were convinced that their tough number eight, who has been sidelined since April with a knee injury, would be ready after he trained with the team.

But there remains some doubt.

“It’s still uncertain that Duane will play,” Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said yesterday. “We’ll continue to test him and make a decision on Wednesday. If he does play, he won’t manage 80 minutes. If he does not make it, we’ll go with Deon Fourie at number eight again,” he told reporters.

Coetzee said it was crucial that the Stormers started well after struggling initially in play-off games. In last year’s semi-final against the Crusaders, they were 23-3 down in the first half and lost.

In the 2010 final against the Bulls, they were 16-0 down after 25 minutes and lost 25-16. But, they have proved excellent front-runners this season and News24 reports that they have won all 10 games when they have built up a first-half lead.

“We have to stick to the recipe of starting well, but we have to play for 80 minutes,” Coetzee said. “We know that a team is only as good as their last game and, after Brisbane against the Reds, the Sharks showed that they will be a good side at Newlands.”

Coetzee said the Stormers were well below full strength in losing to the Sharks in Durban in May.

Joe Pietersen and Siya Kolisi were out before the game.

“A number of players who had played many games successively were starting to feel it … Apart from waiting on the Duane situation, we have no other players carrying any injuries, and the week we have had off has been good for us. We are definitely better off physically now …”

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