Eben Etzebeth and JD Schickerling look set to start for the Stormers against the Vodacom Bulls after returning to training on Monday. DYLAN JACK reports.
The lock duo have missed the last few weeks of action through injury, but are available for selection and looked keen for action during Monday’s training session in Bellville.
They will presumably slot straight into the starting lineup in place of the more inexperienced Salmaan Moerat and Cobus Wiese, who will both miss this weekend’s match at Newlands after picking up knocks in the loss against the Brumbies.
Etzebeth, who also missed the Stormers’ season-opening hammering against the Bulls at Loftus, could, in particular, add some much-needed experience and grunt to the pack, which was second best to the Brumbies when it came to the breakdown.
‘It is great having senior players like Eben back,’ forwards coach Russel Winter said. ‘It is sad that we are picking up so many injuries in that No 4 and No 5 area.
‘JD and Eben are back now and hopefully they are going to come through this weekend. When you have a long break like that, hopefully they are still sharp and I am sure they will be. They are keen to play and it is great having them in the system because they are senior players and they bring so much to the squad dynamic.’
Also back in training was flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis, who was rested last weekend, while flank Sikhumbuzo Notshe could make his return via the bench after recovering from a long-term injury.
Meanwhile, it looks like Siya Kolisi will be back in the starting lineup to captain the team after he played from the bench last weekend.
Photo: EPA/Nic Bothma