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Kitshoff adds to Stormers injury woes

The prop has been ruled out of action for the rest of the season with a foot injury.

Stormers prop Steven Kitshoff has been ruled out for the season. Picture: Facebook.

CAPE TOWN - There's further injury concern for the Stormers as prop Steven Kitshoff looks set to be ruled out for the rest of the year after tearing a ligament in his foot.

Some good news for the Cape side is that captain Jean de Villiers is back and available for selection for this weekend's game against the Cheetahs.

Eben Etzebeth could be back playing for the Stormers soon, but will play no part in the Springboks' Incoming Test Series in June.

The lock forward only returned to training last week, having been out injured since last year.

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee says Etzebeth will be lucky to face the Sharks on the 31 May, adding that the clash against the Bulls in July is a more realistic target.

"He trained with us in the week. We want him to get familiar with the ball in hand, forget about his ankle and run a bit. I think he'll be lucky to play against the Sharks.

"Our medical team is convinced that he won't come back before the break. He'll go to the Springbok camp and they will evaluate him there. But according to us, he won't be available to play in the next two games."

Coetzee says Etzebeth needs to undergo further rehabilitation before he can make full contact.

Meanwhile, the coach says Damian de Allende's Springbok call up is just reward for the utility back's consistent season.

De Allende was named in a 36-man squad of locally-based players that will convene in Durban next week for the first Bok training camp of the year.

"I think we shouldn't get carried away because it's a big squad and it will be cut still. But yes, it's a great story. He started in the Varsity Cup and came all the way through."

The versatile back line player played at both centre and wing this season, with Coetzee hailing the 22-year-old's diversity.

"He's a great team man, playing at wing when the team needed him to play there. I think he's 50-50 between playing centre and wing, and his versatility is a massive thing."

Coetzee also praised Schalk Burger, who earned a recall to the Springbok squad after the former World Player of the Year battled back from two years out with injury.

"He was wondering whether he was going to have a normal quality of life again, let alone playing sport."

Coetzee can't be bothered by the dwindling crowd figures at Newlands.

Two weeks ago, little over 19,000 people attended the game against the Highlanders.

For this past weekend's game against the Western Force, only 16,784 spectators bothered to show up as the Stormers went on to beat the Force 24-8.

The Stormers' form this season has been poor, which has negatively affected the crowd attendance each week.

Coetzee says they're only focused on playing good rugby.

"I'll be really perturbed if the players are thinking about the spectators coming here. We know we've got a responsibility to play well and to play winning rugby, and that is all we can control. Other than that, there's no focus from us on who is eating burgers out there and who's eating wors rolls."

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