Bongi blow for Stormers
The Stormers have suffered another setback with the news that hooker Bongi Mbonambi will miss their tour to Australasia.
The Springbok hooker was rushed into surgery on Friday after suffering a burst appendix‚ ruling him out of action for at least the next three weeks.
Coach Robbie Fleck said he was recovering well but clearly would not undertake the Super Rugby tour to play against the Waratahs‚ defending champions Crusaders and the Highlanders over the next three weeks.
The Stormers depart on Sunday.
The Cape Town side is already without Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth and tighthead Frans Malherbe while hooker Scarra Ntubeni and scrumhalf Jano Vermaak are also out of the tour.
Ramone Samuels was a late replacement for Mbonambi for Saturday’s season-opener against the Jaguares that the Stormers won 28-20 at Newlands.
Dean Muir‚ who played a handful of Currie Cup matches last season‚ stepped in as a replacement for the match and performed well when he came off the bench.
Samuels had a strong all-round game‚ but was yellow carded for killing the ball close to the line in the 65th minute‚ which allowed the visitors back in to the game.
The Stormers also lost three lineouts on their own ball.
“Look‚ Bongi trained as the starting hooker all week‚ and then Ramone had to come in at the last minute‚ so missing those few lineouts was down to rustiness‚” Fleck said.
“Ramone was outstanding in general play. He missed his first lineout‚ which put him under pressure but I also thought the calling could have been kinder.
"He was asked to throw a long ball to the back first up instead of being asked for a front ball early on.
“He hit a few good back balls later. He had a solid game although he made one mistake by giving away that yellow card‚ which put us under presser.
“Dean Muir also did very well‚ he had a good pre-season for us and it was tough not to include him in the squad in the first place.
“He’s worked very well on his conditioning and all aspects of his game and the boys were very chuffed for him when he got his chance.
"He was excellent under the circumstances‚ when we had to scrum with seven men and also defend our line.”