An injury crisis could catapult scrumhalf Ricky Schroeder back into the spotlight when the Stormers visit Port Elizabeth to play the Southern Kings on Saturday.
After being overlooked for the Kings’ opening two matches against the Jaguares and Sunwolves, Schroeder may well find himself back in the picture for a crucial Super Rugby showdown.
The Kings paid a heavy price for their 37-23 win over the Sunwolves in Singapore when they lost both scrumhalves to injury.
First to go was Louis Schreuder and, not long afterwards, Rudi van Rooyen also went off injured which left Pieter-Steyn de Wet to fill the gap at the base of the scrum.
The Kings medical staff confirmed yesterday that they would be without Schreuder and lock Mzwanele Zito against the Stormers.
The pair sustained concussions in Singapore.
In addition, backup scrumhalf Van Rooyen remained in Gauteng on the team’s return from Singapore.
Van Rooyen sustained a suspected dislocation of the ankle after replacing Schreuder on Saturday.
“Van Rooyen’s injury seemed a lot worse. He is doing better than initially thought,” team doctor Konrad von Hagen said.
“We will only know the full extent of the injury after he sees a specialist in Pretoria.”
Apart from Schreuder, Van Rooyen and Schroeder, the other scrumhalf on the Kings books is Johannes Steyn who will also come into the selection frame.
The Kings turned to Pieter-Steyn de Wet (normally a flyhalf or centre) to plug the gap after Schreuder and Van Rooyen were forced to leave the field.
The Kings signed Schreuder at the last minute after James Hall decided that he would not be returning from France where he is playing for Oyonnax.
Last year, Schroeder captained the Kings in the Currie Cup Premier Division, but has slipped down the pecking order for Super Rugby selection.
Before the season kicked off Schroeder said a fiercely competitive atmosphere for prized berths in the Kings starting lineup would help to bring out the best in the team.
“One great aspect is the competitive nature within the squad, but we remain close mates,” Schroeder said.
“It is of the utmost importance that we do not lose the competitive nature within the squad.
“We are forming a close brotherhood, but we are also challenging each other to be better all the time.”
Kings’ head coach Deon Davids paid tribute to his team for soldiering on despite injuries to key players in Singapore.
“It was a really tough win and I applaud the effort of the boys in taking on the challenge,” Davids said.
The Kings are expected to name their team to face the Stormers on Thursday.