A healthy harvest of nine tries, delivered in two games by an attacking Stormers back line, is sure to have triggered a red alert in the Southern Kings camp ahead of a Super Rugby showdown between the sides on Saturday. There will be no room for defensive lapses against an attack-minded Stormers outfit, who could start with Blitzbok star Seabelo Senatla in the place of Cheslin Kolbe.
Kolbe limped off with an ankle injury in the second half of the Stormers’ 32-25 win over the Jaguares at Newlands and will not play against the Kings in Port Elizabeth (kickoff 3.05pm).
Stormers centre Dan Kriel has a lateral knee sprain and will be rested this week as a precaution, along with flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis, who has a minor groin strain.
Springbok Bjorn Basson has moved to the Cape from the Bulls for the season and could come into the frame in the squad to play in Port Elizabeth.
However, Senatla is the favourite for the No 14 jersey after Kolbe was sidelined.
Earlier, the Stormers lost a key player in the back three when Leolin Zas was ruled out for the season after breaking his leg in the warm-up fixture against the Lions.
The Stormers are on the brink of a centre crisis after Kriel was ruled out.
They are already operating without their first choice trio of Juan de Jongh‚ Damian de Allende and Huw Jones through a combination of injury and international duty in Jones’s case.
Kriel‚ twin brother of Bok centre Jesse‚ suffered his injury when making his first start for the Stormers during last week’s 32-25 win over the Jaguares at Newlands.
Daniel du Plessis‚ son of former Bok centre Michael‚ is likely to start at No 12 in Kriel’s absence although Fleck could also give regular flyhalf Robert du Preez a run.
That would allow for Kurt Coleman to come back into the squad as back-up flyhalf.
Despite injury concerns, the Stormers have boasted excellent strike-power this year, with their five tries against the Bulls being followed by four against the Jaguares.
Former Kings player SP Marais has also shone at fullback and is revelling in the attacking style being adopted by the Stormers. “SP continues to be very impressive,” Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said.
“I thought he tried to force a few off-loads, but I am not going to come down on him about that, because I prefer that he tries things.”
The Kings also have injury problems and head coach Deon Davids will have lots to ponder on before he names his team today.
It is at the key position of scrumhalf where the biggest problem lies and Ricky Schroeder and Johannes Steyn could make their first starts of the season.
The Kings paid a heavy price for their 37-23 win over the Sunwolves in Singapore when they lost both scrumhalfs 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 weekend fixtures are:
Friday: Chiefs v Hurricanes (FMG Stadium Waikato) 8.35am, Brumbies v Force (GIO Stadium) 10.45am.
Saturday: Blues v Highlanders (Eden Park) 8.35am, Reds v Crusaders (Suncorp Stadium) 10.45am, Southern Kings v Stormers (Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium) 3.05pm, Cheetahs v Sunwolves (Toyota Stadium) 5.15pm), Sharks v Waratahs (Growthpoint Kings Park) 7.30pm, Jaguares v Lions (Estadio Jose Amalfitani) 9.40pm. – Additional reporting by Craig Ray