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Stormers could lose Etzebeth

Mon, 25 Jun 2012 15:04
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The return of Super Rugby brings with it a fresh batch of injury woes for the Stormers, with star lock Eben Etzebeth in doubt for Saturday's clash with the Lions at Newlands.

The Stormers have welcomed their returning Springboks back to training this week ahead of their tussle with the Lions, but were without Etzebeth, Bryan Habana and Joe Pietersen on Monday.

Etzebeth is the most serious worry with the new Springbok second row suffering from a stiff ankle, for which he has been sent for precautionary X-rays.

Pietersen is struggling with a cold, while Habana was simply being rested from Monday's training. Canadian flank Jebb Sinclair is also on his way back to the squad from international duty, but is due back on Tuesday only.

The loss of Etzebeth could be a massive blow for the Stormers pack, as they are already missing loose forwards Schalk Burger, Nick Koster and Duane Vermeulen. In the second row there is good news that Andries Bekker has made excellent progress with his rehab and should be available for selection.

The other four players that returned from the Bok camp are skipper Jean de Villiers, Gio Aplon, Siya Kolisi and Frans Malherbe, who were all at training and are available for this weekend's match.

Coach Allister Coetzee has a new loose forward headache with Rynard Elstadt not available for the Lions match, as he is serving a one week suspension for picking up three yellow cards in the competition this season. Two members of the Vodacom Cup-winning side, Don Armand and Tyrone Holmes, have been training with the team this week and could even start against the Lions. Armand, of course, has already featured for the Stormers this season.

The Stormers are also without flanks Nick Fenton-Wells and Rohan Kitshoff, who have joined English club Saracens and French side Bordeaux, respectively.

Coetzee hinted that given the heavy workload that Habana and South Africa Under-20 prop Steven Kitshoff have had recently, both players might only be used off the bench against the Lions.

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