Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
27 Apr 2022
9:40 am

Stormers ask Cheetahs for help to avert crisis at hooker ahead of Leinster game

Ross Roche

“I think the versatility of Deon is great, but at the moment he is doing great for us at loose forward."

Deon Fourie will continue to play at flank rather than move back to hooker following the injury to Scarra Ntubeni. Picture: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

The Stormers have resisted the temptation to shift flank Deon Fourie back to hooker following the injury suffered by Scarra Ntubeni, which has left the Cape-based team in something of a mini crisis at No 2.

While one of the Stormers’ standout performers in the competition this year looked set to make the switch back to his old position of hooker, the Stormers have signed Cheetahs hooker Wilmar Arnoldi on an emergency loan instead and he is set to be thrust straight into the deep end against Leinster in a URC match this weekend.

“I think the versatility of Deon is great, but at the moment he is doing great for us at loose forward. That’s why we got Wilmar in so that we weren’t forced to make Deon cover that position for us this weekend,” explained Stormers assistant coach Dawie Theron.

“But he still needs to be there for us as a backup. So hopefully we can sort out that position and let Deon keep focussing on six.”

Meanwhile, Springbok prop Frans Malherbe is making strong progress on his return to the playing fold after a long term injury, as the Stormers march towards the URC knock-outs.

Malherbe suffered a neck injury last year, which saw him miss out on the Springboks’ end of year tour, and only made his URC debut for the Stormers when he returned to play against Ulster last month.

He has since been steadily putting in solid performances as he works his way back to full strength.

“It has been nice to be back playing with the team, I think it’s my fourth game back now. I think we had a good performance this (past) weekend. It has also been nice coming back into the team on a good winning streak, so the guys have really made it easy for me,” said Malherbe.

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With the Stormers currently second on the URC log and facing top ranked Leinster this weekend, Malherbe claimed that they needed to keep their feet firmly on the ground and not think about possible silverware at this stage.

“It would obviously be very special (to win the URC with the Stormers). But for now we have to take it week by week. You know how tight the log is from second spot downwards. So it’s nice for us to have this momentum going into the later stages of the competition,” explained Malherbe.

“But we have to take it week by week. This weekend we are playing the number one ranked team in Leinster, so we have to be ready for that.”