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    Injury boost for Stormers

    2014-05-19 16:01
    Cape Town - For the first time this season, the Stormers completed a Super Rugby match without a player ending up on the team's protracted injury list.

    Instead, flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis, Jean de Villiers, Oli Kebble, Schalk Burger and Sailosi Tagicakibau have all dropped off the injury list and their names will be in the hat for selection against the Cheetahs at Newlands on Saturday.

    Several players, though, including eighthman Duane Vermeulen, Ruan Botha and Brok Harris did not take part in Monday's training session but Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said the players were rested as a matter of managing their physical condition.

    "Duane is one player who has started every game this season and he needs to be rested so that he remains fit, and strong," Coetzee said in Bellville on Monday.

    "By resting Duane, we make sure he remains energised."

    Harris was forced to retire early in the first half against the Western Force last Saturday when he took a knock to the shoulder.

    "Brok suffered an AC joint strain and we pulled him off because one has to take caution, especially because he is a prop.

    "The good thing is that his condition has settled nicely and it looks like he'll be ready to play this weekend.

    "Ruan took a bump on the knee and day or two of rest will do him good but he is likely to be fit by the weekend."

    The return of De Villiers and the good form of midfielder Juan de Jongh means that Damian de Allende will be moved out from centre to wing again.

    "Damian's versatility was a massive consideration in his call-up to the Springbok training group. It also shows that Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has rewarded the player for his good form throughout the season."

    One player who was expected to be available this week was Springbok prop Frans Malherbe. However, concussion tests showed he still had symptoms which prohibited him from playing at this stage.

    "He'll carry on training and then he'll have another test later this week but he won't be considered for selection this week."

    Lock Eben Etzebeth who was named in the Bok squad on Monday but Coetzee said he was about three to four weeks away from being ready to play again.

    "At this stage Eben is being integrated back into the game at training and we are very careful with him," Coetzee said.

    "His foot cannot be exposed to excessive jumping at this stage and only once he can jump say 20 times at training can he be considered. The medical staff of the Stormers and the Springboks will be working closely together to ensure that he does not return prematurely to competition."

    Flyhalf Kurt Coleman, who was benched last week to give Peter Grant the honour of starting out for his 100th game for the Stormers, is likely to occupy the pivot position against the Cheetahs.

    "Kurt will be in the mix this week and we also have to consider Demetri who is ready to play again.

    "We will look at what each of the players (flyhalves) has to offer and then make a choice. We are looking to build momentum and playing with an unchanged team helps a great deal."

    Prop Steven Kitshoff, who is out with a knee injury, suffered more bad luck when it discovered he had a torn ligament in his foot. As a result, he underwent an operation on his foot on Monday. He is expected to return towards the end of the Currie Cup season.

    The full Stormers injury report on Monday:

    - Prop Oli Kebble (concussion), flank Schalk Burger (back/coccyx region), flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis (broken nose) and wing Sailosi Tagicakibau (calf muscle) all returned to full team training on Monday and will be considered for the Cheetahs game

    - Flank Sikhumbuzo Notshe (knee) and flyhalf Gary van Aswegen (groin) also rejoined team training

    - Centre and squad captain Jean de Villiers (AC Joint) will rejoin training on Tuesday and also be considered for selection against the Cheetahs

    - No 8 Duane Vermeulen (bumps and bruises), lock Ruan Botha (small knock to the knee) and prop Brok Harris (small AC Joint sprain) will be managed this week but will all be available for selection

    - Prop Frans Malherbe (concussion) is still showing slight symptoms after taking a knock to his head against the Highlanders. He is highly unlikely to play this week

    The following squad players remain sidelined with injuries at present:

    Prop Steven Kitshoff (knee & foot), hookers Scarra Ntubeni (broken foot) and Tiaan Liebenberg (neck), locks Eben Etzebeth (foot), Jurie van Vuuren (shoulder), De Kock Steenkamp (groin), Rynhardt Elstadt (shoulder), Gerbrandt Grobler (shoulder) and Manuel Carizza (wrist), scrumhalves Louis Schreuder (fractured thumb) and Godlen Masimla (wrist) and fullbacks Gio Aplon (elbow) and Ryno Eksteen (knee)

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