Etzebeth returns to full duty

PUBLISHED: May 8, 2013

Lock Eben Etzebeth will make his first start of the 2013 Super Rugby season when the DHL Stormers take on the high-flying Waratahs at Allianz Stadium in Sydney on Saturday.

Etzebeth made his return to action – from an ankle injury which he sustained during pre-season action – in last week’s 17-18 loss to the Blues in Albany. And this week the Springbok starlet will partner fellow international Andries Bekker in the second row, as the DHL Stormers look to pick up a second win on the road in Australasia.

In other changes to the matchday 22, which did duty against the Blues, flank/lock Don Armand joins the bench – along with winger Gerhard van den Heever, who flew over to Sydney as an injury replacement earlier this week.

Centre/wing Damian de Allende drops out of the squad altogether for this weekend’s match which kicks-off at 19h40 local time (11h40 SA time).

DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee explained: “We didn’t make many changes in order to retain some continuity for this week.

“On the bench, Damian didn’t do much wrong but our thinking with getting Gerhard onto the bench is that he’s a specialist wing and that will give us some more options.”

Looking ahead to the challenge of facing the in-form ‘Tahs on their home turf, Coetzee added: “We’ve worked very hard this week – we’re looking forward to the game.

“Our set-piece has been solid this year, but we’re looking for even more improvement there this weekend – we need to concentrate at every scrum and line-out.

“The set-piece will be massive, they’re an all-international pack I think, so we’re aware of the challenge and what needs to be done to gain parity in a crucial facet of play.”

The DHL Stormers team to take on the Waratahs is as follows:

15. Joe Pietersen
14. Gio Aplon
13. Juan de Jongh
12. Jean de Villiers (captain)
11. Bryan Habana
10. Gary van Aswegen
9. Dewaldt Duvenage
8. Duane Vermeulen (vice-captain)
7. Rynhardt Elstadt
6. Siya Kolisi
5. Andries Bekker
4. Eben Etzebeth
3. Frans Malherbe
2. Deon Fourie
1. Steven Kitshoff

16. Scarra Ntubeni
17. Pat Cilliers
18. Don Armand
19. Nizaam Carr
20. Louis Schreuder
21. Elton Jantjies
22. Gerhard van den Heever

Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)