Bekker back but Eben a worry

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee may be forced to get creative with his forward selections this week following news of more injuries.

The only good bit of news for the Stormers is that Andries Bekker has recovered sufficiently from a back injury and should start against the Lions on Saturday. Who plays alongside Bekker is yet to be determined as Eben Etzebeth, who played in the three Tests against England, is nursing an ankle injury.

De Kock Steenkamp and Quinn Roux will be in the mix this weekend, although it is yet to be determined where exactly they will feature. There is a chance that Etzebeth will recover and start on the flank, in which case Steenkamp will start in the second row. Coetzee is also toying with the idea of starting Steenkamp at flank if Etzebeth is not available, and partnering Bekker with a classic No 4 in Roux.

The Stormers look set to be without loose forwards Schalk Burger, Duane Vermeulen and Nick Koster until the play-offs. Don Armand and Tyrone Holmes are currently training with the squad, and they may also receive playing opportunities in the next three weeks.

Jebb Sinclair, who has been on duty with the Canadian national team, is expected to return to Stormers training on Tuesday. Rynhardt Elstadt is not available for this week’s match because of a one-week suspension.

In the front row, Deon Carstens is likely to retain the No 1 jersey, as Steven Kitshoff returns to the squad after a demanding Junior World Championship. Kitshoff will however be included on the bench this weekend.

Another player set to be benched is Bryan Habana, as Coetzee looks to manage some of his players. Danie Poolman and Gerhard van den Heever are the starting options on the left wing this weekend.