Botha set to return for Stormers

Date published: February 10 2015

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Lock Ruan Botha will be considered for the Stormers starting line-up against the Bulls in Saturday's clash at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.

Botha returned after a long injury lay-off and, in the wake of the injuries to locks Eben Etzebeth and Manuel Carizza, his services would be needed.

"I'm happy to start with Ruan," said Stormers coach Allister Coetzee.

It is more a question of how long he will play for.

"With Victor Matfield back for the Bulls, it's going to be a challenge, but I'm confident about our line-out."

Loose forward Nizaam Carr has overcome the effects of a viral infection which caused him to miss the three warm-up matches. However, Coetzee said he had done well enough at training to warrant consideration for the starting XV.

"Nizaam is back and training flat out," he added.

"It depends on how much game time other players have had before we decide if he'll start or come off the bench.

"Siya Kolisi is training in a controlled environment and possibly a week or two away from being back in action."

The loose forward injured a hamstring a fortnight ago.

The other player back from injury was utility back Damian de Allende who had recovered from troublesome quadriceps. His return was vital in the absence of injured backline players Jean de Villiers and Kobus van Wyk.

Van Wyk was expected to be ready in the next few days and his condition would be assessed later this week.

Coetzee said the Stormers' opening game presented the twin challenge of playing away and at altitude.

"It's never easy to play your first game away and at altitude but we've had that experience in the past," he said.

"We are also sitting with players who have had very little time in the warm-up games and their fitness will come into question. It's something we have to deal with and it's something that we've prepared for."

Prop Frans Malherbe was still on the injury list but his recovery was well ahead of schedule and Kenyan wing Willy Ambaka was also expected to be fit for selection within a few weeks.

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