Super Rugby

Stormers 'positive' of Etzebeth return for Blues

Eben Etzebeth (Gallo)
Eben Etzebeth (Gallo)

Cape Town - The Stormers are hopeful that powerful Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth will return for Saturday's clash against the Blues in Auckland. 

The 27-year-old was named in the starting line-up for this past weekend's clash against the Hurricanes, but was withdrawn at the final hour after failing to pass a late concussion test. 

Etzebeth picked up a head knock against thee Jaguares on March 15 at Newlands and has been recovering since. 

According to Stormers assistant coach Russell Winter, however, Etzebeth is looking good for Saturday's clash against the Blues, though he still has more routine tests to get through. 

"Eben looks like he is recovering and doing quite well," Winter said from New Zealand on Monday.

"Unfortunately he didn't pass his concussion test last week so he had to continue with the protocol this week.

"It's looking quite positive for him and we're hoping that by Thursday he will be cleared."

There are a couple of other injury concerns for the Stormers. 

Lock JD Schickerling left the field early in the 34-28 loss to the Hurricanes on Saturday with a shoulder injury that has been troubling him for some time. 

"JD has a shoulder that he's trying to look after. We were aware of it, but it's just one of those things that we need to manage," Winter said. 

The other two injury worries are both concussion-related. 

Salmaan Moerat, who replaced Schickerling on Saturday, also didn't see the end of the game as he left the fray with a head injury as did loose forward replacement Jaco Coetzee. 

"Salmaan and Jaco left the field because of concussion. We'll give them a chance until Thursday to see if they can recover through the week, but that depends on the protocol," said Winter.

"Other than that I think we have a clean bill of health ... we're just waiting on those."

Kick-off on Saturday is at 08:35 (SA time). 

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