United Rugby Championship

Stormers still without Bok prop Malherbe ahead of Bulls trip

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Frans Malherbe. (Photo by Shaun Roy/Gallo Images)
Frans Malherbe. (Photo by Shaun Roy/Gallo Images)

Springbok prop Frans Malherbe will not feature for the Stormers in Saturday's United Rugby Championship (URC) clash against the Bulls at Loftus as he continues his recovery from a neck injury. 

The 30-year-old tighthead missed the Springboks' end-of-year tour in November with the same injury

Speaking to media on Monday, Stormers forwards coach Rito Hlungwani said it was expected that all other Springboks, including loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff, would be available for selection. 

"With Frans, we have a meeting with the medical team, but it's looking very positive," Hlungwani said. 

"We'll probably have a timeline for him later this week, but he's doing well with his rehab and we look forward to having him back soon."

The prop stocks are also depleted further by the fact that Neethling Fouche remains out with a knee injury. 

Hlungwani said he had started straight line running again at training, adding that he was expected to resume full training in another couple of weeks.

The South African sides have not played in the URC since the first week of December, and there are local derbies scheduled for the next four weekends after the tournament schedule was revised due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. 

Stormers and Springbok lock Marvin Orie, though, says a trip to Loftus to take on the Bulls will always mean a lot to the players. 

"Everyone knows about the history of the north v south derby. It's always a big one and we're really excited," said Orie. 

"We've had a few weeks to prepare for this and our training has really been going well. Our energy is really good, a few guys are back from injury and everyone is ready to go."

The match on Saturday kicks off at 17:05, while the Lions host the Sharks in Johannesburg at 15:00. 

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