CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa’s Stormers got their Super Rugby season off to an impressive start with a 27-0 bonus-point victory over the Wellington Hurricanes at Newlands, but will be sweating over the fitness of Siya Kolisi who was forced off in the first half.
The Springbok World Cup-winning captain was hit by a late tackle from Hurricanes hooker Ricky Riccitelli and injured his knee, limping out of the contest.
Kolisi was touch-and-go for the World Cup in Japan last year with a knee problem, and it will be of major concern that he lasted only 26 minutes in the first game of the new season.
“Siya is being scanned right now and it is a big blow, to lose your skipper in the first 20 minutes of the campaign, with what he means to the team on and off the field,” Stormers coach John Dobson told reporters.
“We could be faced with a Grade 2 MCL (medial collateral ligament), which is six weeks (to heal), or it could be more serious than that.”
The Stormers were already 12-0 up by the time Kolisi departed, wing Sergeal Petersen crossing the line before Bok prop Steven Kitshoff barged his way over for a second.
Another World Cup winner, scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies, added a third before halftime as he scooped up a loose ball to race clear for a dominant home side.
Flyhalf Damian Willemse ran the length of the pitch after an intercept to score a late fourth try.
The Hurricanes made too many unforced errors in what was a forgettable performance from the New Zealand side, who tried to play a physical game that was not matched by skill.
They lost centre Billy Proctor and flank Vaea Fifita to yellow cards, while Riccitelli was also fortunate to escape sanction for his late hit on Kolisi.
The Hurricanes travel to Argentina to face last season’s beaten finalists, the Jaguares, next Saturday.
The Stormers handed a debut to former Wales and British & Irish Lions centre Jamie Roberts. They host the Bulls in their next outing.
Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Hugh Lawson