Cape Town - Stormers forwards coach Matthew Proudfoot insists lock Eben Etzebeth
is not a dirty player after he was involved in another 'scuffle'.
The Springbok lock was caught in a pushing and shoving incident with Kings lock David Bulbring when the teams clashed in Port Elizabeth over the weekend.
Etzebeth received a two-week ban
last year for head-butting Australia's Nathan Sharpe, and was also drawn into a scuffle with Scotland's Jim Hamilton a few weeks ago.
But Proudfoot believes the youngster is being targeted by opposition teams.
"I think it's a tactic that a lot of teams will utilise, but Eben is growing nicely and he will know when to dish out the appropriate response," the coach told the Cape Times
"Let's not forget that the young man is just 21 years old, and he plays his game close to the edge.
"He's not a dirty player by any means and hasn't been involved in dirty thuggery. He's not a dirty player, but a very physical player. That's a key element to understand about Eben. It's part of the contest.
"Deon's (Fourie) comments after the game were apt - there's bound to be a lot of emotion in the game, but there were no dirty instances of foul play in the game. It was a rough game, but there were no dirtiness as such. The referee handled it well, so we are happy," said Proudfoot.
And there is sure to be a lot of emotion in the Stormers' next game - against the Bulls on Saturday - where Etzebeth will come up against Springbok team-mate Flip van der Merwe.
Kick-off at Newlands is at 19:10.