Rainbow Cup

Stormers flyhalf depth set to be tested, but coach Dobson 'not too worried'

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Kade Wolhuter (Gallo)
Kade Wolhuter (Gallo)
  • Kade Wolhuter being ruled out for the rest of the Rainbow Cup is set to test the Stormers' depth at flyhalf.
  • Abner van Reenen looks to be the likeliest replacement. 
  • The Stormers are also expecting the injured Tim Swiel to be available for selection in the next week or two. 

When 19-year-old Stormers flyhalf Kade Wolhuter went down screaming in agony during the second half of Saturday's PRO14 Rainbow Cup SA opener against the Sharks, it was immediately apparent that the injury was serious. 

That much was confirmed the very next day when scans revealed a ruptured ACL in his left knee. 

In a position where they are already short of pedigree and experience, the Stormers are now being stretched even more. 

Abner van Reenen was Wolhuter's replacement off the bench, and while he slotted in at fullback for much of his time on the field, he will give coach John Dobson an option at flyhalf heading into this weekend's clash against the Bulls at Cape Town Stadium. 

Damian Willemse is perhaps a more attractive number 10 in that he has notched up significant experience there under Dobson over the past two years. 

Tim Swiel, who featured in the Currie Cup over 2020/21, is also still on the books and is expected to be available soon after recovering from a groin strain. 

Other than that, there is not much to choose from, but speaking after Saturday's match, he insisted that the Stormers would not look to bring in another flyhalf from outside the existing Western Province structures. 

"We won't go outside," Dobson said.

"With Tim (Swiel) in Super Rugby Unlocked and the Currie Cup, we deliberately went out with a kicking and territory game. Tim, by nature, is an attacking flyhalf who takes the ball to the line well and he has a great passing game.

"I think it's him and Abner, for me, and that's not going to change how we play.

"Tim can play both. If you saw him at age group level, he was really X-factor. He wasn't a kicking flyhalf at all. I'm not too worried about that."

Dobson also pointed to the Varsity Cup as a potential source of increasing his depth.

"Christopher Schreuder is also a quality flyhalf at Maties," he said.

"He's probably more a traditional kicking No 10 but he's obviously a youngster with a lot of potential."

Van Reenen, though, appears to be the front-runner.

"Abner has worked so hard over the last six or seven months in terms of his conditioning and it's paying off for him on the field," Dobson added.

"Tim is probably back this week or next week, so if we have to go one week with Abner starting and Damian covering at No 10, then we can do it."

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