Etzebeth back, Taute injured

Eben Etzebeth will make his first appearance for the Stormers since 2013 against the Cheetahs at Newlands on Friday night.

Etzebeth failed to feature for the Stormers last season after suffering a foot injury on the Boks' end-of-year tour in 2012. His return will be a massive boost for the Stormers and coach Allister Coetzee, who has opted to pair him with Argentinian Manuel Carizza for Friday's match.

The rest of the changes come in the backline, where Demetri Catrakilis slots in at flyhalf for Kurt Coleman and Kobus van Wyk replaces EW Viljoen on the wing.

The final change is a precautionary measure after Damian de Allende suffered a grade one tear in his quadricep muscle during training, with Huw Jones coming in as cover.

The injury takes on a more serious complexion with the news that Jaco Taute has been ruled out for four to six weeks with a knee injury. With Springbok captain Jean de Villiers set to miss the entire season, the Stormers are spread a bit thin with inside centre cover.

'It was good to get our first contact session out of the way [against SWD], but it's important to play against a Super Rugby franchise to build up our match sharpness,' said Coetzee. 'They've got a good width about their attack and they'll test us defensively.'

The Stormers will complete their pre-season programme against Boland next weekend, where Siya Kolisi and Nizaam Carr are expected to make a return to first-team action.

Meanwhile, Coetzee denied reports that South African-born England Sevens player Matt Turner had joined the Stormers for the 2015 season.

'Matt is in Cape Town and he is obviously back from his sevens duties, he just came to ask if he could join us for training. At this stage there is no commitment from our side, he just wants to keep fit and train.'

Stormers – 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen (c), 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Jean Kleyn, 21 Neil Rautenbach, 22 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 23 Louis Schreuder, 24 Kurt Coleman, 25 Johnny Kotze, 26 Robert du Preez, 27 EW Viljoen.

Pre-season fixtures

Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images