The Citizen (KZN)

Prop issues at the Stormers

- Ross Roche

The Stormers are facing an injury crisis at loosehead prop after Lizo Gqoboka (above) suffered a serious looking ankle injury during their impressive 43-21 United Rugby Championsh­ip (URC) win over Edinburgh in Cape Town on Saturday.

It was a fantastic result, but came at a high cost after Gqoboka, who was returning from an injury that has kept him out for most of the season, rolled his ankle shortly after coming on the field in the second half.

After receiving some on-field assistance he was taken off, with 39-year-old veteran Brok Harris coming back on, after he started the game, which saw him put in a 75-minute shift on the night.

The Stormers are now in deep trouble with Gqoboka expected to be out for at least the next two game weeks, if not longer, joining a host of other looseheads on the sideline for the union.

“That is now a crisis, to be honest. Lizo rolled his ankle and with scrumming pressure, rolled ankles are quite significan­t,” explained Stormers coach John Dobson after the match.

“So, that is Lizo, Sti (Sithole), Ali (Vermaak), Leon Lyons and Kwenzo (Blose) out now. We are going to have to get somebody in otherwise we won’t be compliant for next week (against Ulster).”

Looking at the match Stormers captain Salmaan Moerat was thrilled with the effort of his team that saw them outscore the Scottish visitors seven tries to three for the big bonus point win.

The result also lifted them up to fifth on the URC log and they now look ahead to a clash against Irish giants Ulster this coming weekend, which will also see former legend Steven Kitshoff return for the first time since his move overseas.

“I am thrilled. We showed some very good glimpses. Coming off the back of the previous performanc­e, there were a lot of things that we weren’t happy with. Our attitude was one of them. A great shift tonight,” said Moerat.

“The guys really pitched up and understood how we are going to win. With any team, once you get that confidence, it can be a catalyst for greater things to come. The most important thing is to be consistent with the areas that make us tick.

“It’s important that we go back to the drawing board on Monday. Ulster are a quality side, Kitsie is coming home, which will be special. So we are really looking forward to that.”

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