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Etzebeth returns for Stormers

Several key players return from injury as the Stormers aim to win their third consecutive match.

Stormers lock Eben Etzebeth. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Stormers lock Eben Etzebeth is fit and likely to start on the bench against the Blues on Friday.

Etzebeth has been out since February when he picked up an ankle injury in a Super Rugby warm-up match against Boland.

The Stormers have missed the impact the lock has in open play and his return will be a welcome addition to a pack that has been functioning well.

Speaking from Auckland, Stormers coach Allister Coetzee says Etzebeth will most likely be used as a second half substitute.

"You're not sure what you're going to get, he hasn't played for a long time. Obviously there will be some rustiness but that's expected. As a tight forward you have to play a few games before you really hit the zone."

The Stormers line-out has been operating well in recent weeks which has helped the Cape franchise secure consecutive wins over the Sharks and the Hurricanes.

Coetzee is careful not to upset the balance of the team by thrusting Etzebeth into the starting line-up immediately.

"I think it would be unfair to start him. I don't think Andries Bekker or De Kock Steenkamp have had a poor performance, or need to be dropped".

Siya Kolisi, Scarra Ntubeni and Elton Jantjies will all be fit for selection when the team plays the Blues.

The Auckland-based team are currently fifth on the overall log, but a bonus point win for Coetzee's side will see them overtake the Blues on the overall standings.

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