Etzebeth and Vermeulen back to add physicality in Stormers side

2015-04-02 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Stormers coach Allister Coetzee says lock Eben Etzebeth is raring to go as they prepare to face the Hurricanes in a Super Rugby clash in Wellington tomorrow.

Etzebeth takes over the No. 4 jersey from Jean Kleyn, with the latter dropping out of the match-day squad altogether — along with Nizaam Carr, who did duty at No. 8 last week. On the bench, meanwhile, lock Ruan Botha will take over the No. 19 jersey vacated by Etzebeth in an otherwise unchanged bench.

“Eben is 100% and ready to start again. He is a Springbok and he brings physicality and experience to the party which you need against New Zealand teams,” he told the Stormers’ official website “I think Jean Kleyn has done a great job for us in Eben’s absence and I must give him credit, but this is our strongest possible pack at the moment and guys like Eben and Duane [Vermeulen], both of whom are highly-regarded Springboks, will add value in the physicality stakes and in other areas too.

“In terms of Nizaam Carr missing out, the Springbok No. 8 [Vermeulen] is back and he understands that. Nizaam is a great player and he will be back to his best form, I know that and we will support him to get his confidence and form back.”

The Stormers and Canes have met on New Zealand soil on seven previous occasions, with the men from the Cape holding a narrow 4-3 head-to-head advantage — including a hard-fought 18-16 victory in Palmerston North in 2013.

“The Hurricanes are a quality side, they’re the best in the competition as their 6-0 record ­suggests,” added Coetzee. “[But] they’re also a confident team and happy playing at home … we need to pitch up and execute our plans if we are to have a chance of beating them.”

Tomorrow’s clash is scheduled to start at 8.35 am (SA time).

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