Etzebeth boost for Stormers

Lock Eben Etzebeth has fully recovered from a foot injury and will be available for the Stormers’ semi-final next Saturday.

Etzebeth has been sidelined since returning from Springbok duty, missing three Super Rugby matches. According to coach Allister Coetzee, he took part in training last Friday and has been declared fit for the knockout phase of the competition. Etzebeth will resume his partnership with Andries Bekker in the second row, an inclusion that will strengthen the Stormers’ pack.

Meanwhile, the Stormers are still waiting on Duane Vermeulen and Schalk Burger. It’s unlikely that either will be fit for the semi-final, although Coetzee hasn’t abandoned all hope just yet.

‘Duane Vermeulen and Schalk Burger are both also progressing really well, but both still remain doubtful starters for the semi,’ Coetzee said on the Stormers website. ‘Both will undergo final assessments on Thursday as to their availability to participate in team training next week and as to their potential availability for the play-off.

‘We are in pretty good shape, injury wise, for this stage of the competition. It has been a gruelling couple of months. The players have the luxury of three days downtime before regrouping on Thursday for training and preparation.’

Coetzee said on Saturday that the injuries sustained in the game against the Rebels were not serious. Siya Kolisi and Gio Aplon endured heavy hits, but Coetzee is adamant that these men are in no danger of missing the semi-final.