Jantjies a step closer to return
Jantjies a step closer to returnSHARE
The Stormers will get at least one Springbok back and possibly a second as they prepare to face the Hurricanes in the opening match of their Super Rugby tour.
The 11th-placed Stormers start their tour when they face the Hurricanes in Palmerston North on Friday (April 26), followed by encounters with the Blues (in Albany), Waratahs (Sydney) and Rebels (Melbourne).
The Stormers had their first training session in Auckland on Monday – after a 24-hour trip from Cape Town (where they departed on Saturday), via Johannesburg, on to Sydney and then, finally, on to Auckland.
Speaking after training on Monday Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee confirmed that record-setting Bok wing Bryan Habana will be in the starting XV after having been sidelined for more than a month with a knee injury.
"The only two guys who didn't participate in team training were Eben Etzebeth [who suffered an ankle injury in a pre-season match against the Boland Cavaliers] and Elton Jantjies [a knee injury sustained against the Cheetahs fortnight ago], who did controlled training under the medical staff, but everyone else seems to be fine," Coetzee said in a teleconference call from Auckland.
"Elton looks very good and at this stage I'd say he has an 80 percent chance of playing against the Hurricanes.
"Eben will definitely not play this week, but he's on track for next week."
The Stormers squad only touched down in Auckland late on Sunday.
"We had a smooth flight to Auckland, we got here without any complaints – we've been doing this trip for years now, there's no excuses of jet-lag," said Coetzee.
"We're here to do a job. The players have done well, I could see at training that there was a nice energy and we're looking forward to stepping up preparations tomorrow [Tuesday].
"We're all excited to be here and [we're] looking forward to the first game [against the Hurricanes]."
The Stormers will be based in Auckland for the majority of the next two weeks and will travel to Palmerston North on Thursday ahead of this Friday's clash against the Hurricanes.
They will return to Auckland on Saturday.
The squad will move on to Sydney after their second tour match, against the Blues in Albany (next Friday, May 3), where they will also be based for almost a fortnight for games against the Waratahs (in Sydney) and the Rebels (in Melbourne).