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Eben Etzebeth

DHL StormersAfter 2 weekends of Super Rugby warm-ups played and looking at what was achieved and what is still lacking, the Stormers are of the opinion that there is still a lot to work on.

The DHL Stormers have also brought out a Fitness Report today, detailing what they have to deal with, at this stage of the season, before a single Super Rugby game has been played.

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Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer

A critical element of Heyneke Meyer’s tight-forward plans for Rugby World Cup 2015, plus his unpredictable backline talisman… already under injury scares.

If you’d told Heyneke Meyer – presumably a long way from the untelevised encounter – before Friday’s Newlands friendly between the Stormers and Cheetahs that two players falling into those categories would pull up injured in it, the ever-animated Springbok head coach might have been excused for having kittens on the spot.

But that is precisely what occurred in the pre-season affair, won 39 / 31 by the hosts in an otherwise productive work-out for both teams, as Eben Etzebeth and Willie le Roux fell foul of the curse.

Oddly, the more alarming of the incidents, on initial viewing, appeared to affect fullback magician, Willie lLe Roux, during the 2nd half – and he had only got on the park off the bench for the start of it.

But with just 7 minutes remaining, the IRB Player of the Year nominee for 2014 collapsed in a writhing heap after being tackled, clutching the area around his left ankle. To watching spectators on the fairly sparsely-populated Railway Stand, it wouldn’t have looked good at all.

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Eben Etzebeth

Eben Etzebeth

The Stormers scored a 39 / 31 win over the Cheetahs in an entertaining Super Rugby pre-season match at Newlands on Friday.

However, the Cape Town franchise will be concerned about injuries emerging from the match, with the real price of victory yet to be determined.

Two of their international locks, Argentinean Manuel Carizza and Springbok Eben Etzebeth, left the field before half-time and didn’t return.

Of the two injuries, Carizza’s looked the more serious.

Kobus van Wyk also picked up a calf injury, which does not look serious but would require a scan.

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Eben Etzebeth

Eben Etzebeth

The struggles the DHL Stormers have endured through the past 2 Vodacom Super Rugby seasons may well be ascribed to the limited appearances made in the jersey during that time by the powerful Springbok second row forward Eben Etzebeth.

It is normally considered a stretch to suggest that one man makes a team, and it would be if you said such a thing about Etzebeth with the Stormers and Western Province for it is true that Duane Vermeulen is at least as valuable and influential. However that missing Etzebeth is akin to going without a clutch of players rather than just one is undeniable.

The statistics will bear out that claim too – in 2013 the Stormers were struggling when Etzebeth returned from injury. They lost the first match they played with him back, one in which they were robbed by the TMO against the Rebels in Melbourne, but after that they won 6 in a row. Last year he was out for the entire season with an injury sustained in the last test match of the previous year, and the Stormers struggled.

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DHL StormersThe DHL Stormers are slowly working towards full muster as the Vodacom Super Rugby season approaches, with another clutch of Springboks set to return to the team for Friday night’s warm-up fixture against the Toyota Cheetahs at Newlands.

The Stormers dispensed with the SWD Eagles 34 / 3 in their opening game in George at the weekend, but the Cheetahs, as fellow Super Rugby participants, are considered the toughest opponent of the pre-season phase. They are thus the ones the Cape side will consider to be the dress rehearsal for the real thing, which comes in the form of the opening clash with the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria on 14 February.

The Stormers will play the Boland Cavaliers in another warm-up game before the Super Rugby season starts. However, with the game taking place just one week before the trip to Loftus, the normal policy is to include fringe players for that fixture, plus maybe a top player or two who would only then be fully ready to play after coming back from injury.

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Eben Etzebeth

Eben Etzebeth

Western Province have brushed off reports linking lock Eben Etzebeth with a move to French giants Toulon.

French newspaper Var Matin reported over the weekend that the Springbok lock could join Toulon after next year’s Rugby World Cup.

The 23-year-old Capetonian is seen as an ideal replacement for compatriot Bakkies Botha, who recently retired from international rugby and will leave Toulon at the end of the current European season.

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Ruan Pienaar

Ruan Pienaar

Eben Etzebeth

Eben Etzebeth

A bright sunshiny but chilly day greeted the Springboks when they arrived in Dublin on Sunday, where they kick off the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour against Ireland this weekend.

The South Africans left Johannesburg last night and travelled via London Heathrow to the Irish capital for their first visit to this part of the world in two years.

Eben Etzebeth stayed behind in South Africa and will join the squad on Tuesday following a family bereavement, while there will be more clarity on Ruan Pienaar’s fitness situation in the week.

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Eben Etzebeth

Rise to the top – Eben Etzebeth.

Eben Etzebeth isn’t your average 22-year-old. South Africa’s young lock is viewed as absolutely pivotal to the team’s future.

That’s not a status which is simply handed out either. In his 27 caps so far, Etzebeth has seamlessly fitted into Test rugby.

We seem to live in an age of young locks beginning to dominate Test rugby; Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock, Courtney Lawes and Joe Launchbury, Sam Carter, with Pieter-Steph du Toit to come.

There’s little now at the international level that Etzebeth hasn’t experienced, including a prolonged lay-off through injury.

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Lood de Jager

Lood de Jager

The Springboks made three changes to their starting XV, with two of them effecting the line-out structures – which already appeared weak in Pretoria last week.

The line-out has long been a strength of the Boks, and a lot of this dominance in the set pieces can be attributed to the maestro that is Victor Matfield.

The veteran lock was sorely missed last weekend when the Boks’ line-out struggled, in albeit poor conditions, against the Argentineans at Loftus Versfeld.

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Craig Roberts

Dr Craig Roberts

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has been given a massive boost with the news that he should be able to pick as close to his strongest side for this weekend’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship opener against Argentina at Loftus Versfeld.

Team doctor Craig Roberts cleared props Frans Malherbe, Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira and lock Eben Etzebeth for action and crucially also gave captain Jean de Villiers the all-clear to play this weekend after spending the last few months on the sidelines with injury.

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WP RugbyThere has been a late change to the DHL Western Province team for Friday night’s Absa Currie Cup clash against the EP Kings at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium (kick-off 19:10 SA Time).

At lock, Springbok squad member Eben Etzebeth will start on the bench, with youngster Jean Kleyn making his Absa Currie Cup debut in the No 4 jersey.

“We have monitored Eben’s workload at Springbok training this week, so we thought it would be prudent to start with him amongst the replacements on Friday,” explained DHL WP coach Allister Coetzee.

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Eben Etzebeth

Eben Etzebeth

Frans Malherbe

Frans Malherbe

Two members of the Springboks’ Castle Lager Rugby Championship squad, Eben Etzebeth and Frans Malherbe, have been released to play in the opening round of the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division for DHL Western Province on Friday evening.

Both players are returning from long-term injuries and will be allowed some game time for WP to ease them back into the game.

Etzebeth’s last game was in November 2013, for the Springboks against France in Paris, where he picked up a foot injury. Malherbe has been out for more than three months with concussion.

“Following medical assessments and consultation between our medical team and those of the various provinces, it was decided to release Eben and Frans for this weekend,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

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Eben Etzebeth

Eben Etzebeth

Springbok and WP lock Eben Etzebeth has returned to full training ahead of the Currie Cup and Rugby Championship.

Etzebeth has not seen a single minute of competitive action in 2014 after first a foot, and later a toe injury, kept him out of the Stormers’ entire Super Rugby campaign.

After a long and arduous process he is finally nearing a return to fitness, but it remains to be seen if Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer opts to draft him into the Bok set-up immediately or allows him to get some game time under his belt with Western Province.

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Eben Etzebeth

His parents might call him Eben, but I’d like to call him Ysterbeth!

Want to know more about the Etzebeth legend?

Apologies to our foreign readers as the first story was printed in Afrikaans. If you scroll down you would find another in English.

These articles were written quite a while ago and is left just as it was published, so excuse the time frames. The author of the Terminator from Parow is Jaco Kirsten, who writes for the website meneer.tv

For those readers not familiar with the legend of the Etzebeths, enjoy these stories, those of us who grew up in Cape Town, roll back the years and take a trip down memory lane.

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Eben Etzebeth

Eben Etzebeth

Stormers lock Eben Etzebeth will not feature in this year’s Super Rugby tournament after suffering another injury.

The Springbok lock has been sidelined with an ankle injury since late last year, but was looking forward to returning to action during the latter rounds of Super Rugby.

However, an official injury report released by the Stormers on Monday revealed another injury to Etzebeth.

He has a broken toe, which will keep him out of action for another 2-3 weeks.

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Francois Steyn

Francois Steyn

South AfricaCell C Sharks backline star Frans Steyn is unlikely to feature for the Springboks in the June Internationals.

Steyn was one of 10 players who took no or little part in the field sessions at the Springbok training camp in Durban, which concluded on Wednesday.

Steyn has been suffering from a chronic knee dysfunction which has been managed by Sharks and upon a request from his franchise, the load on his knee was limited by keeping him out of training.

While the severity of the injury will only be confirmed later in the week, Steyn is expected to miss the June internationals. It is also possible that Steyn could miss the latter stages of Super Rugby, which would be a body blow to the Sharks.

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Eben Etzebeth

Eben Etzebeth on the comeback trail

DHL Stormers behemoth Eben Etzebeth was named in the national training squad for next week’s camp in Durban, but it now seems unlikely that he will play for the Springboks in the June Test matches.

The big lock was doing his own drills with the fitness trainer as the Stormers trained on Monday as he gets used to putting weight on the ankle that was operated on after last year’s Springbok tour of the UK and France. But after saying at the weekend that Etzebeth had an outside chance of being ready to play against the Sharks on 31 May, Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has now ruled out that possibility.

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Stormers

This is the third in the series of Stormers Squad Contenders for Super Rugby 2014. We do 2 articles per week per South African Super Rugby participating franchise.

We discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.

In this Article we look at the contenders for LOCKS in the DHL Stormers 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.

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2013The year was full of spectacular moments and performances as well as disappointing lows and infamous incidents; we name and shame the best and worst in our 2013 Awards.

New Zealand and Wales ruled their respective hemispheres for the second successive year, the All Blacks enjoying a flawless 2013 campaign.

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Bismarck du PlessisEben EtzebethFrancois LouwJean de VilliersWillie le RouxRugby fans can start voting for their own International Player of the Year and World XV of the Year following the release of a 45-strong shortlist of contenders.

Part of the inaugural Ultimate Rugby IRPA Awards, the Fans’ Player of the Year, and World XV of the Year will be decided by votes cast on Ultimate Rugby’s mobile app, and announced in conjunction with other category winners on November 26.

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