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Tiaan Liebenberg

Tiaan LiebenbergWestern Province hooker Tiaan Liebenberg has been forced to retire after being plagued by back injuries for some time now.

The 32-year-old will be returning to Bloemfontein to join up with his family and to get involved with the business.

The hooker was a mere spectator during Western Province’s 19-16 Currie Cup victory over the Lions on Saturday and although the veteran has reached some lofty heights in rugby, he was still sad not to be a part of it.

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WP RugbyTiaan Liebenberg’s back problem has flared up again but that blow to DHL Western Province’s build-up to Saturday’s north/south Absa Currie Cup showdown with the Vodacom Blue Bulls has been offset by the news that as many as six top players will be returning to action this week.

Scarra Ntubeni is among those that will be assessed on Monday, and he will be an obvious replacement for Liebenberg at hooker should he be declared fit. Liebenberg is to undergo a scan to assess the severity of his injury but he will definitely miss the Bulls game.

The other players coming back into the system are Rynhardt Elstadt, who has been out since the early stages of Super Rugby, Brok Harris, Kurt Coleman, Jaco Taute and Ruan Botha. The latter should come in at No 5 lock, with Manuel Carizza moving to the front of the lineout as Eben Etzebeth will be the with the Boks this week.

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Allister Coetzee

Allister Coetzee

DHL StormersDHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee adopted a different approach to his former Springbok management colleague Jake White during the break from Vodacom Super Rugby for the June internationals.

While White had his Cell C Sharks players play club rugby in the last weeks of the break so they don’t hit the remaining phase of the season cold, Coetzee’s players haven’t played in any matches since the win over the Sharks in Durban on the last day of May. The only players to see action in June were the Springboks.

However, the Stormers shouldn’t expect to take any cobwebs into Saturday’s big derby match against the Vodacom Bulls at Newlands as in the two weeks back in training after the taking the first two weeks off, the Stormers have been steadily upping the intensity in training.

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Jean de VilliersStormersSquad captain Jean de Villiers, prop Pat Cilliers and lock / flank Jurie van Vuuren are all back on deck this week, and available for selection against the Lions.

Hookers Scarra Ntubeni and Tiaan Liebenberg and wing Kobus van Wyk are not available for selection as yet, whilst flank Schalk Burger and winger Cheslin Kolbe will be given until later in the week to see if they are available.

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Stormers

This is the second article 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 HOOKERS in the DHL Stormers 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.

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DHL WPDHL Western Province have probably lost Juan de Jongh for their next two matches after the centre was called up by the Springboks on Sunday, but they should be significantly boosted for Friday’s crucial Absa Currie Cup clash with the Toyota Free State Cheetahs.

WP were set back before their match against the GWK Griquas at Newlands at the start of the weekend by the late withdrawal of big blindside flanker Rynhardt Elstadt.

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Tiaan LiebenbergWestern Province’s Springbok hooker Tiaan Liebenberg could be out of action for the rest of the Currie Cup season.

Although he announced last Wednesday the five-times capped Bok, who was battling with back spasms, could be out for two or three weeks, WP coach Allister Coetzee said in Cape Town on Monday that latest scans show that Liebenberg may have suffered spinal disc damage.

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