Etzebeth, Burger return for Stormers
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.”
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
16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Jean
Kleyn, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw
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
16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Marco
Wentzel, 20. Renaldo Bothma, 21. Conrad Hoffmann, 22. Andre Esterhuizen,
23. Jack Wilson