HUGE BLOW: Flyhalf Jean-Luc is injured. CREDIT: Bertram Malgas

Heading into their Super Rugby quarterfinal clash against the Chiefs at Newlands this weekend, the Stormers look to have lost their key playmaker Jean-Luc du Plessis.

The 22-year-old flyhalf left the field in their 52-24 demolition of the Kings on Saturday with an ankle injury and the initial prognosis does not look good, according to coach Robbie Fleck.

The Newlands mentor says: “The initial feedback is that it could be a syndesmosis [injury] and if that’s the case, that’s usually a four-month injury.”

To make matters worse for the Stormers coaching team, Robert du Preez, who recently returned from long-term injury, also missed Western Province’s Currie Cup clash against the Border Bulldogs because of illness.

It now seems that the onus of dictating play and neutralising the threat of Aaron Cruden will fall on the shoulders of Brandon Thomson, who did well when replacing Du Plessis.

Of his options, Fleck says: “He [Thomson] has been training with us for 10 weeks and that’s the reason why we didn’t select Rob for this weekend…

“We were choosing guys that were in sync with the rest of the group and understanding what our plan was and he [Thomson] slotted in perfectly.

“It’s now up to us to get Rob in sync as quickly as possible.

“They are two young flyhalves… but the good thing about these kids is that you throw them in the deep end and they stand up and deliver and that’s what we are banking on.”