Burger to miss Stormers warm up clash against Saracens


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Springbok flank Schalk Burger was a conspicuous absentee when the Stormers side to play touring Saracens was named by head coach Rassie Erasmus on Wednesday.


Burger is nursing an ankle injury and will not be participating in Sunday’s international friendly clash at Newlands (kick-off 4pm).

His place will be taken by the livewire, up-coming prospect Francois Louw who showed encouraging form last season.

Apart from Burger, Springbok teammate Conrad Jantjes has a groin strain and his place will be taken by veteran Percy Montgomery, who last played in a Stormers jersey in the 1996 season.

The rest of the side bears a striking resemblance to the squad which just failed to secure a 2008 play-off berth, with the notable exception of Duane Vermeulen, who was recruited from the Cheetahs at the end of last season.

Probably the biggest plus for the Stormers will be the return of tighthead prop JD Moller who was a stand-out performer before his Super 14 campaign was cut short by injury last season. The Stormers have always been vulnerable upfront and it has been an area which opposition usually target.

On Sunday, the Stormers’ tight five will be under tremendous pressure as Saracens have a formidable pack, which is anchored by former Stormers tighthead Cobus Visagie.

The Stormers backline will field the same players who did duty for most of last season but there could be several substitutions later in the match. Since the match is a friendly and the Stormers are still at pre-season stage, their management is likely to have several players coming off the bench with the view to establishing depth in the squad.

Of most interest will be the promising loose forward Nick Koster who Erasmus plans to convert to a wing. There is also Tongan Sevens star Alipate Fatafehi who will again come under the Stormers’ microscope before a decision is taken about offering him a contract.

Among the forwards, all eyes will be on Hillton Lobberts, the former Blue Bulls loosie who is set for change to the lock position in an effort to shore up reserve strength for the season ahead.

Veteran ultility forward AJ Venter and prop JC Kritzinger have been named on the bench but both are carrying injuries and a final calll on their availability will be made on Friday afternoon.

Flyhalf Willem de Waal is still on the sidelines and he’s only expected to return to fray in time for the season’s Super 14 pipe-opener against the Sharks in mid-February at Newlands.

Other bad news from the Stormers camp is that prop Brok Harris had picked up an ankle injury which is likely to keep him out of the game for at least two months.


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