Stormers boosted by Etzebeth and Burger return

SA Super Rugby conference leader the Stormers have been given a boost for their match against the Stormers this week as a number of key players are becoming available.

Locks Jean Kleyn and Eben Etzebeth are both available for selection this week and experienced flanker Schalk Burger is expected back from Japan on Tuesday.

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said that Burger is fresh, after featuring off the bench of late for his Japanese club, but a full call on his participation will be made once the Stormers medical staff have had a look at him after he arrives at the HPC.

Kleyn (hamstring) and Etzebeth (chest) are both back in the selection mix after coming through training last week.

There was no training for the Stormers on Monday as 13 Stormers players stayed behind for a planned Springbok training camp in Johannesburg.

It is not all good news for the Stormers though as there are new injury concerns over Michael Rhodes, Ruan Botha and Jurie van Vuuren following the team’s 19-22 victory over the Lions.

Rhodes took a big blow to his knee against the Lions and will undergo a scan when he rejoins the team while lock Botha took a knock to his head against the Lions and will undergo concussion testing.

Jurie van Vuuren suffered a shoulder injury and is expected to be out of action for at least 21 days. Winger Kobus van Wyk will be assessed later this week after missing the first three matches of the season with a calf-muscle injury.

“As the tournament progresses, Mondays become your resting/recovery days and you’re able to do some technical work,” explained Coetzee.

“Today is not a bad thing at all, so we’re not too upset (at) not having trained (today). “

On squad depth and team selection Coetzee said, “Our focus is keep building capacity, for instance a guy like Bongi Mbonambi did well when he started in Scarra Ntubeni’s place against the Lions. You don’t want to start well and then slip away at the end due to your squad capacity not being good enough. “

The Stormers are one of four unbeaten teams left in Super Rugby and they remain in South Africa this week as their next match is at home against the Sharks in Cape Town.

The Sharks have played three matches to date and only won one but Coetzee is not taking them lightly.

“We’re not reading anything into the Sharks’ loss to the Bulls, they’re a powerful side and we need to make a lot of improvements if we are to keep up our good record at home.

“The guys showed great character last week, I was very pleased with the players’ effort – despite the mistakes they made. The good thing, however, is that these mistakes can be fixed. “

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