Stormers without Taute for opener

The Stormers' centre stocks suffered another blow ahead of the Super Rugby season, with Jaco Taute ruled out through injury.

Taute sustained an ankle injury during the Cape Town-based side's 40-15 pre-season victory over the SWD Eagles in George on Saturday, and is set to undergo surgery on Thursday which will rule him out of their tournament opener against the Bulls at Newlands on February 27. 

"He injured his ankle against SWD and it looks like he'll be going off for an operation on Thursday," Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck told Sport24.

"He's certainly out of the Bulls game." 

The 24-year-old can be expected to be on the injured list for at least the early part of the competition.

The Stormers are already without the services of Springbok midfielder Damien de Allende, who is also out with an ankle injury, and while Fleck maintains that his side isn't lacking in midfield options, they certainly are lacking in experience.

"Huw Jones is in the mix," he added.

"Jonny Kotze has returned to training. Juan de Jongh will obviously be returning back from Sevens duty.

"A young kid like Daniel du Plessis is a seriously talented guy and he's coming back from injury.

"It's a young group and we're going to back the youngsters in the group. Injuries are injuries, there is nothing we can do about it.

"They're a bit untimely, because obviously those are two senior players (Taute and De Allende) in the group and they do have a massive influence on the way we want to play and the individuals in the team, but we move on.

"Whoever slots into that No 12 position has got a job to do."