The ambitious Stormers suffered a double whammy on Monday when the jet-heeled winger Tonderai Chavhanga joined prop JD Moller on the team’s walking wounded list in a matter of hours.
It was established on Monday that that the hamstring injury which Chavhanga picked up in Saturday’s Super 14 clash against the Hurricanes at Newlands, will need about four weeks to heal.
The injury occurred when Tonderai decided to kick ahead after a sprint down the railway stand touchline.
He kicked when none of his teammates was up in support and the Hurricanes cover defence was closing in on him, close to the Hurricanes tryline.
And unless Chavhanga, who holds the Springbok record for scoring the most tries in a Test, makes a dramatic recovery in at least the next fortnight, his hitherto spectacular 2008 Super 14 season is as good as over.
The update on Chavhanga came hot on the heels of the news that Moller’s dislocated shoulder will need several months to heal.
Both Chavhanga and Moller, who has been giving his opposite numbers in the scrums a torrid time this season, have been key players in the Stormers’ rise up the Super 14 standings in the past five weeks.
Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus accepts that the loss of those stalwarts will be a massive setback, but he’s not going to allow his charges to lose focus in the upcoming matches.
“It is a huge setback, but we have to deal with it. It is sad for Tondi (Tonderai), but it opens up an opportunity for another guy,” said Erasmus.
“Schalk (Ferreira), Brian (Mujati) and Brok (Harris) must just now go and do the business in the frontrow.”
The players in the running for Chavhanga’s place include Dylan des Fountain, Gio Aplon and Joe Pietersen. In an emergency, Erasmus could consider using centre Jean de Villiers on the wing, and then play regular flyhalf Peter Grant in midfield.
That would open the way for former All Blacks playmaker Tony Brown to slot into the flyhalf position.
Brown, has only been used as an impact player after he joined the Stormers halfway through the Super 14 season.
Sapa – Super14.com