The Stormers will kick off their Super Rugby Unlocked campaign against the Lions at Newlands on Saturday without three of their stars.
Reigning World Player of Year Pieter-Steph du Toit is still nursing a leg injury and is expected to miss the first few rounds of the competition, while backline stars Seabelo Senatla and Ruhan Nel are sidelined because of hamstring ailments.
The good news is that the Stormers haven’t suffered any fresh injury blows after Super Fan Saturday and the Green and Gold Bok trials two weeks ago.
Assistant coach Dawie Snyman says of the injuries in their squad: “Pieter-Steph won’t be ready for selection at this stage. I still think he’s got a bit to go. We have no new injuries from what we had at Marvel or Green and Gold.
“Everyone’s ready to go, the only guys not up for selection this week will be Nel and Senatla. Jaco Coetzee is back from injury – we are as close as we can be to full strength.”
While the Stormers will play in their first match of the tournament, the Lions already kicked off theirs with a narrow 19-16 defeat to the Sharks last weekend.
Snyman, though, is convinced that the extra game will not give the visitors an edge on Saturday.
He says: “I am confident in the way we prepared.
“We tried to simulate [match] scenarios [in the off week].
“And the guys who didn’t play in the Green v Gold match played against the U21s.
“All of our players have two games under the belt.”