Bekker doubtful for Stormers opener against Sharks



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With only nine days remaining before the Stormers play their first Super 14 match against the Sharks next Saturday, their coach Rassie Erasmus has high hopes of flyhalf Willem de Waal being available for the match.

There is, however, bad news on other fronts for Erasmus.

Springbok lock Andries Bekker, who scored three tries in the weakened Stormers’ warm-up match against the Kavaliers last Saturday, is suffering from a neck injury and did not take part in full training on Wednesday.

Erasmus admitted there is some concern whether he will be ready to face the Sharks at Newlands.

Added to that, there is the request from national coach Peter de Villiers that the Springboks should be handled carefully with a view to the full international programme this year, when they will play nine tests against the British and Irish Lions and in the Tri-Nations series in a matter of 12 weeks.

This could be also make Bekker a non-starter next weekend.

Wing Sireli Naqelevuki has a rib cartilage problem, and although he might be ready to be considered for the Super 14 opener, Erasmus says it “would be really stupid” to select him with the long season ahead.

There is talk that Springbok fullback Conrad Jantjes will be used in his place on the wing.

Erasmus says Jantjes is fit and Schalk Burger – who like Jantjes also missed both the warm-ups – should be fit to be considered for selection.

“It would have been lovely to put them through some game time. But I can almost say they will definitely be picked,” Erasmus told the Stormers website.

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