DHL Western Province head coach Allister Coetzee has released an injury report ahead of Saturday's Absa Currie Cup clash against the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Pretoria.
The table-topping WP side – fresh off their third win of the season (against the Sharks at DHL Newlands on Saturday) – could be without inspirational captain Deon Fourie in Pretoria, as the hard-working flanker is battling with an intercostal muscle injury.
Hard-as-nails flanker Rynhardt Elstadt was, again, managed during Monday’s afternoon session, whilst centre Juan de Jongh also rested a niggle at the HPC. Neither are in doubt for Saturday’s Bulls clash (kick-off 17h05).
Coetzee told www.wprugby.com on Monday: “There are no major concerns (from the weekend), except for Deon. He took a knock to the ribs, so we’ll see how that progresses throughout the week.
“Deon’s a bit sore. He’s obviously an important player for us, but we will continue to monitor him. We’ll give Deon until captain’s practice (on Friday). Should he not make it, (lock) De Kock Steenkamp will take over the captaincy.”
Should Fourie not be available, Coetzee admitted that he had a number of selection options to mull over before naming his team at lunch-time on Wednesday.
“Rohan Kitshoff is a possibility (at No.6). He’s a similar type of player than Deon, but I have a few other options as well. Rynhardt Elstadt has played there (at No.6) before at Super Rugby level, so he’s no stranger to that position.
“If Michael Rhodes shifts to flank, we can include Gerbrandt Grobler or Taz Fuzani at lock and if we (would then) have Kitshoff on the bench, we still have the option of that sort of player should it be necessary, with Michael able to shift back to the second row.”
The WP boss admitted that he was thinking about a five/two bench – five forwards and just two backs – which could impact on the potential return of flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis (shoulder), who will step up his training this week.
“Demetri was still not comfortable with his shoulder last week,” said Coetzee.
“He’ll start with contact tomorrow (Tuesday) and we’ll see how he comes through it, but Kurt Coleman has been very consistent for us at flyhalf. He’s grown with every game he’s started.”
Meanwhile, Coetzee also gave an update on Schalk Burger’s fitness, as the star Springbok flanker continues to work his way back to full fitness – first from a niggling calf strain and then from bacterial meningitis.
“There’s a big possibility that Schalk could be back in the 2013 Absa Currie Cup. I don’t want to put a time frame on it, but I am confident.
“He underwent a small operation (last week) and will return to training on Wednesday. We want to make sure there’s nothing that prevents him from running flat out,” said the WP boss.
Springbok hooker Tiaan Liebenberg (back) and tighthead prop Frans Malherbe (ankle) remain on the injured list, however, with the latter hopefully back before the end of the month.
“It could be less… but, conservatively speaking, Frans should be back in three weeks. He is joining us at training in two weeks’ time, but it’s all about seeing how stable his ankle is when it comes to scrummaging.
“Tiaan is seeing a specialist and I’ll probably hear from him this week,” added Coetzee. “It’s not just spasm… they suspect it could be one of his disks, but we’ll know more when we get the report later in the week.”