The return to full fitness and match availability of Sergeal Petersen has proved timely for the Stormers after it was confirmed on Thursday that the Blitzbok star Seabelo Senatla will miss the bulk of his team’s PRO14 Rainbow Cup matches.
Senatla was suspended for four weeks, forcing the Stormers to look elsewhere for wing reinforcements.
Fortunately for them, the experienced Petersen is available and ready to slot in as his replacement in Saturday’s crucial home clash against the Bulls at Cape Town Stadium.
Senatla and Stormers No. 8 Willie Engelbrecht went into disciplinary hearings on Wednesday following their respective red cards in the opening Rainbow Cup fixture against the Sharks in Cape Town.
Senatla was sent off in the 13th minute for a reckless challenge on Aphelele Fassi while Engelbrecht was shown red in the second half after receiving a second yellow for a high tackle.
Sentence was handed down on Thursday, with Engelbrecht escaping any kind of suspension, meaning he is free to play in the Stormers’ second Rainbow Cup fixture against the Bulls should he be selected.
However Senatla, who admitted in the hearing, conducted by Judicial Officer Advocate Tokkie van Zyl, that the red card was justified, was suspended for four weeks, which equates to four matches, and he will only be available again in the last round of the Rainbow Cup.
It is a blow for the Stormers as Senatla showed his X-factor in the last stages of the preparation series, but while assistant coach Dawie Snyman was fearing the worst when he discussed the wing situation relating to Senatla’s disciplinary hearing and the consequences of it earlier in the week, he said that Petersen will be a ready replacement.
“Sergeal is fit again and ready to play so it won’t hurt us too much,” said Snyman.
It is likely Petersen will slot into the starting team in place of Senatla when the team to play the Bulls is announced on Friday.
It is likely that because the status of Engelbrecht was in the balance until so late in the week, the Pumas player (he is at the Stormers on loan) will sit out this game and Evan Roos come in at No. 8.
Roos was on loan to the Stormers from the Sharks at the start of the season, but the return of the former Western Cape schoolboy to the Cape has become more permanent.