AUDIO: Malherbe won't be chucked into the deep end

Tue, 01 May 2018 08:29
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SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: With the Bulls arriving in Cape Town this week, the Stormers might be tempted to bolster their front row stocks with the inclusion of Springbok prop Frans Malherbe.

Malherbe made his return to the rugby field from a neck injury in Western Province's Provincial Rugby Challenge opener against Eastern Province. He also started against Border in East London last weekend. 

With Wilco Louw's heavy workload at tighthead for the Stormers this season, someone of Malherbe's calibre could freshen things up in the front row for the Cape side. 

However, Stormers assistant coach Russell Winter believes it could be a risk to play Malherbe in a big South African derby so soon after returning from injury. 

"As far as Frans is concerned, he had a serious neck injury and we are trying to make sure that we can get Frans back to the player that he was," said Winter.

"We don't want to rush him in and chuck him into the deep end. We are going to manage him the best we can so that once he is in the fold he is going to be the Frans of old and the Frans that we know. 

"A tighthead with a neck injury is something that you have to manage properly. 

"The workload on Wilco [Louw] and Carlu [Sadie] will be managed during the week."

The Stormers' depth in key positions is slowly starting to improve ahead of a series of big home games.

"The likes of Eben [Etzebeth] and Bongi [Mbonambi] aren't ready yet, but Jan [de Klerk], who cracked his rib two weeks ago, is almost ready. He could be passed fit, but I think they [medical team] will give him another week.

"Justin Phillips is also coming back into the mix after his rib injury. In terms of the other guys playing for the Provincial Challenge side, Jean-Luc [du Plessis] is back in the mix and he has come off that long-term injury and he is up for selection. Whether he gets chosen or not is up to Robert [Fleck]. 

"Frans [Malherbe] is training with us. It is his second week with us so our depth is improving and we are getting some numbers back, which is a good thing," Winter added.

@rugby365com

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