Rainbow Cup

Stormers without key Springboks for Lions clash

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Stormers captain Steven Kitshoff. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)
Stormers captain Steven Kitshoff. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)
  • The Stormers will tackle the Lions at Cape Town Stadium without key Springboks.
  • Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe and Damian Willemse will be rested, while there is doubt over Herschel Jantjies who is ill.
  • Saturday's clash is essentially a dead rubber, as both teams are out of the running to finish top of the Rainbow Cup SA standings.

The Stormers will be without key Springboks for their final PRO14 Rainbow Cup SA encounter against the Lions in Cape Town on Saturday.

Coach John Dobson told reporters on Tuesday that they'll have to make do without Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe and Damian Willemse, while Herschel Jantjies was also in doubt.

Skipper Kitshoff, tighthead prop Malherbe and fullback Willemse will not be available due to Springbok resting protocol, while scrumhalf Jantjies is ill.

"We are anxious to follow SA Rugby's [resting protocol], so Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe and Damian Willemse... those three [won't be available]. Herschel has had a break. He was ill on Friday and I am not sure he will play," Dobson said during a virtual media briefing.

READ | Dobson on losing Bok star Mbonambi: 'We did everything we could to keep him'

Dobson added that centre Ruhan Nel will also not be available after travelling with the Blitzboks for a training camp in Johannesburg.

"We are happy to send Ruhan back, not just because it is a dead rubber. It's the same reason as last time. The Olympics is something that means a hell of a lot to him. Of course, we are really anxious to work closely with SA Rugby, on the PONI [players of national interest] players and on the resting protocols. Ruhan goes with our blessing. I hope he makes the Olympics. Even if we needed to win this game to get to the final in Treviso, we would have released him and respected his wishes."

Dobson also gave an update on Springbok fullback Warrick Gelant, who is in a race against time to be fit for the Stormers' match against the British & Irish Lions on 17 July.

Gelant has been sidelined since December with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

"He is touch and go for the British & Irish Lions, which is on 17 July. That is four Currie Cup games in. So, he won't play those games," Dobson said.

"A provincial treasure like Warrick, the Lions game will be up to him. If he wants to be a part of that, or be more conservative, given how traumatic an injury it has been. But he will miss at least the first four Currie Cup games."

Saturday's clash at Cape Town Stadium is essentially a dead rubber, as both teams are out of the running to finish top of the Rainbow Cup SA standings.

The Stormers are third on 13 points and the Lions at the bottom on eight points.

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