Etzebeth injury record a concern as three locks likely to return at Newlands

Etzebeth injury record a concern as three locks likely to return at Newlands

The Stormers and the Bulls could well run onto the field with three locks who between them have had very little recent game time.

For the Cape side, Springbok Eben Etzebeth (photo GB Jordaan) looks set to start with JD Schickerling, also on return from injury, who was on the year-end Springbok tour without getting his first cap.

Fitness of the returnees could be a problem – especially in the case of Etzebeth, who has been in and out of the team and on the sidelines since 29 March after missing the whole of the 2018 Super Rugby season and the three-test incoming tour by England. He did play in the six 2018 Rugby Championship tests before he injured his back again in the first test (against England) on the 2018 year-end tour.

The Bulls Springbok lock Jason Jenkins is expected to return after two matches and and a bye. He has held the pack together after the injury to Lood de Jager, who has been out since the end of February and is expected to miss the rest of the season and the World Cup.

RG Snyman was also injured. Jennings and Eli Snyman did their bit in the second row but injury to the latter then forced coach Pote Human to use loose forwards Hanro Liebenberg and Jannes Kirsten as make-shift locks in the Bulls last wo matches.

RG Snyman made an auspicious return the weekend before last when he ran, tackled and grafted and was voted man of the match against the Reds on his comeback. The Bulls had a bye last weekend, while the Stormers lost to the Brumbies in a poor performance.

With Jenkins probably fit for the match at Newlands, the Bulls will have more confidence in their own lineout to quell what could be a serious launching pad for the Stormers.