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Aplon makes long-awaited return

Gio Aplon has been named in the Stormers starting fifteen against the Bulls.

Springbok and Stormers fullback Gio Aplon. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Stormers utility back Gio Aplon is set to make his long awaited return to the team after being named in the starting line-up for the Stormers' match against the Bulls at Newlands on Saturday.

Aplon has been named at 14 for the North-South derby, having recovered from the elbow injury that has kept him side-lined since March.

Veteran flanker Schalk Burger will captain the side after a successful stint with the Springboks, while Springbok Sevens player Seabelo Senatla could make his 15-man debut from the bench.

There are also three positional switches as Juan de Jongh moves to inside centre, Sailosi Tagicakibau shifts from left wing to outside centre, with Cheslin Kolbe moving across from right wing to the left.

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee commended his medical staff on helping Aplon to recover.

"I must complement the medical staff, because they were spot-on in saying that he would be available for the last two games. He's trained really well over the last couple of weeks, so I'm sure he's itching to get a run-on."

Coetzee says de Jongh is more than able to cope playing at 12 in the absence of Jean de Villiers.

"It's not an unfamiliar position for him. He's played almost a whole season at 12, and Fleckie [backline coach Robbie Fleck] was right when he said that Juan's a player that likes to get his hands on the ball very early. He'll be looking to get go-forward ball for us."

Coetzee says Tagicakibau could be very good at outside centre.

"Sailosi has played for London Irish at centre. It's just one channel infield from wing. He's got some good attributes, some distribution skills and also defensively he's quite strong."