Etzebeth's Bok waiting game
Etzebeth's Bok waiting gameSHARE
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer's plans for lock Eben Etzebeth may have to be adjusted slightly as his chances of playing Super Rugby before the June break seem slim.
Etzebeth has been sidelined since the end of last year with a serious ankle injury, and Meyer was hopeful that he would recover in time to at least get some rugby for the Stormers under his belt before the Springbok's first match of the year against a World XV on June 7.
However, Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said that Etzebeth will be 'lucky' to feature in the last game before the break against the Sharks as they take a conservative approach to his recovery.
The big lock has started training with the Stormers squad, but Coetzee explained that they will not be taking any chances by rushing him back before he is completely ready to play.
"He trained with us in the week, but I don't think one should read anything into that really. We want him to get familiar with having the ball in hand and start forgetting about the ankle and run a bit.
"I think he will be lucky to play against the Sharks, but I am so conservative now I will probably look at after the break," said Coetzee.
This means that Etzebeth's first game back from injury could be against the World XV at Newlands, which means that Meyer may have to bring him off the bench with Flip van der Merwe swtarting in the No.4 jersey.
Although disappointing that Etzebeth may be ready later than anticipated, it is certainly not worth the risk of playing him before he is completely ready so a more realistic target for Meyer might be the first Test against Wales on June 14 at Kings Park.
By Michael de Vries