Stormers confident they are on track for Blues

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018    Getty Images

Coach Robbie Fleck told The Cape Times lock Pieter-Steph du Toit, and backs Damian de Allende and EW Viljoen had all suffered the 'flu along with some members of the team management.

He said players arrived at Newlands for a training session and meeting on Tuesday but half the management and several players had to be sent home.

They also learned that wing Seabelo Senatla is out for six weeks with a groin injury while fullback SP Marais will miss the next two games due to a rib injury.

The side will have lock du Toit back in action, although Fleck said he had been happy with the way his locks had stood up on tour.

"I think Jan de Klerk, Chris van Zyl and Salmaan Moerat did a good job at the weekend, in particular Salmaan – he had a really good game for such a young kid. I think the boys were really impressed with the attitude that he came in with. But it's good to know what we've got now in terms of depth," he said.

The Stormers would look to manage Moerat, as they had five-eighths Damian Willemse last year.

"We don't want to push him too hard or too early. We'll give him those opportunities when they come around. It's awesome to see a 20-year-old perform like that under difficult circumstances."

That would mean they would have to manage the lock situation generally over the next few weeks.

Senatla's and Marais' losses meant Dillyn Leyds would start at fullback against the Blues while JJ Engelbrecht would come onto the wing.

Fleck said the just completed tour had been better than that the side had last year when losing badly to the Crusaders, Hurricanes and Highlanders.

"In the Waratahs game we were leading at one stage and it was locked at the death. We made an error and they scored a good try to beat us at the end. We felt fairly disappointed that we didn't win that game, and we felt that we weren't playing at our best, but we were still good enough to win that game.

"Against the Crusaders in the first 20 minutes they fed off our mistakes, but in the last 60 minutes we were the dominant side. And with the last game we were leading 14-5 or whatever it was and we got another line break and Ben Smith was off his feet and we could have got a penalty there to go up, but it was a different game.

"We made a mistake and they scored a try, but we let ourselves down and suddenly they get an opportunity to score.

"We certainly grew on tour, and with every single game we improved. We're pretty confident that we're on the right track and that we're playing good football," he said.