Stormers hooker Liebenberg ruled out of tour

Stormers hooker Tiaan Liebenberg has joined flanker Schalk Burger on a flight from Australia back to Cape Town after the pair were ruled out of the team’s tour of Australia.

The weekend match against the Brumbies was the Stormers’ third successive defeat on tour.

Liebenberg suffered a pinched nerve in his neck, lock Ruan Botha injured his ankle, Siya Kolisi hurt his shoulder and Burger suffered a calf muscle injury just hours before the kick-off.

Coach Allister Coetzee said Liebenberg was likely to be out for at least three weeks and was uncertain about the recovery period for the other players.

“Ruan injured the ankle that was operated on last year and, at this stage, he has a 50 percent chance of being fit for the next match against the Reds,” Coetzee said.

“We also expect Siya to be ready since he has responded well to treatment. In the case of Schalla (Burger) we’ll wait and see what the specialist’s report says before we know how long he’ll be sidelined.”

The Stormers lost hooker Scarra Ntubeni earlier on tour, and now with Liebenberg also out of the picture, regular flank Deon Fourie will return to the hooker’s berth.

“Deon will start as a hooker this week and Stephan Coetzee, who joined us on tour last week, will be the reserve.

“We have flown over Tazz Fuzani (lock) and Sikhumbuzo Notshe (flank) as injury replacements and both of them will come in the reckoning for the match-day squad.”

He said eighthman Nizaam Carr would start against the Reds on the flank.

“Duane Vermeulen has been playing so well this season and I would not like to move him,” said Coetzee.

“Carr will slot in at No 7 (openside flank) and Siya at No 6 (blindside flank).”

Fullback Jaco Taute, who missed last week’s match because of a shoulder injury, is expected to be fit for this week’s final tour match against the Reds.

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