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    Etzebeth, Burger return for Stormers

    2015-03-05 13:00

    Cape Town - Eben Etzebeth and Schalk Burger have both been named in the Stormers' 23-man squad for Saturday's all-South African Super Rugby clash against the Sharks at Newlands (19:10 kick-off).

    Etzebeth picked up a chest injury during pre-season action in late January and will make his first competitive appearance for the Stormers since July 2013, while Burger - who was named on the bench - is back in the selection mix after returning from his club rugby commitments in Japan.

    Powerhouse lock Etzebeth comes in for the injured Jurie van Vuuren (shoulder) in the No 4 jersey, while Argentine international Manuel Carizza moves up from the bench to replace Ruan Botha (minor concussion) in the No 5 shirt.

    In other changes to the starting XV, Siya Kolisi comes in at No 7 for his first start of 2015 in place of the hard-working Michael Rhodes, who suffered a bang to the knee during last week’s dramatic 22-19 away win over the Lions, while Scarra Ntubeni starts at hooker in place of Bongi Mbonambi, an 11th hour withdrawal after sustaining a shoulder injury at training.

    Burger thus moves onto the bench following Kolisi’s promotion to the starting XV, with the former joined amongst the replacements by Alistair Vermaak (in for Oli Kebble) and a fit-again Jean Kleyn, the new lock replacement following Carizza’s elevation to the No 5 jersey, and uncapped hooker Neil Rautenbach (in place of Ntubeni).

    Looking ahead to this weekend’s clash, the Stormers’ third SA derby in four weeks, coach Allister Coetzee told the Stormers’ official website: “First and foremost, it’s great to be back home at Newlands, where we will be for the next two weeks before our bye-week and tour.

    “For us, it’s all about improving on last week’s performance against the Lions, as we were unhappy with a lot of things that came out of the match,” he added.

    “We’re expecting a ferocious onslaught from a powerful and experienced Sharks team, who were unlucky to lose away last weekend. We’re certainly not reading anything into that defeat to the Bulls, in fact, we know that will only make the Sharks more dangerous.”

    While the loss - to injury - of Rhodes, Botha and Van Vuuren are disappointing in such a big week, Coetzee welcomed the return of Springboks Etzebeth and Burger.

    “It’s always good to bring back players like Eben and Schalk who understand the culture of the Stormers and who boast big-game experience,” said the Stormers coach.

    “They are short on recent game time for us, but their presence is a big boost for us - especially in light of the injuries to Mike, Ruan and Jurie.”



    15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff

    Substitutes: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones


    15. SP Marais, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. JP Pietersen, 12. Frans Steyn, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4. Lubabalo Mtyanda, 3. Matt Stevens, 2. Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1. Thomas du Toit

    Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Marco Wentzel, 20. Renaldo Bothma, 21. Conrad Hoffmann, 22. Andre Esterhuizen, 23. Jack Wilson

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