Kolbe boost for Stormers

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The hot-stepping fullback has been cleared to play in the match after he was “knocked out cold” in the match against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires two weekends ago.

It’s great news for the Stormers, as his absence would have left a massive hole at fullback for the Cape franchise after wing Dillyn Leyds was been ruled out for the season.

Leyds picked up a knee injury ahead of the Stormers’ trip to Argentina. Scans later revealed that he had torn an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which normally takes around eight or nine months to heal. There was also doubt over the fitness of former SA Under-20 utility back EW Viljoen, who also recently came back from injury.

Kolbe scored a magnificent try against the Jaguares when he stepped past a host of defenders to score the decisive try of the match in their 13-8 victory.

And he will be key for the Stormers on Friday night against a Sunwolves side who give you a lot of scope to counter-attack from their mistakes. It will be the first visit to Newlands by a Japanese Super Rugby team.

The Stormers are also likely to welcome back their Springbok centre Damian de Allende, who, as coach Robbie Fleck stated last week, is “currently training with the Currie Cup squad.

“He will be fit and ready to go for the Sunwolves”.

De Allende picked up an ankle injury while on club duty in Japan, and was expected to return for next week’s match against the Lions in Ellis Park. But Fleck said his progress has been better than expected.

De Allende will certainly add more punch to the Stormers’ attacking effort, and he will form a potent Springbok combination with co-captain Juan de Jongh, who will now be able move back to his preferred position of outside centre against the Sunwolves.

Springbok De Jongh may just give the Stormers that extra bit of bite in the wider channels, while he will definitely also feed of De Allende’s ability to run straight and offload in the tackle.

At scrumhalf, Godlen Masimla is set to make his first appearance for the Stormers this year because of an injury cloud hanging over current first choice No 9 Nic Groom.

The Stormers are already without veteran scrumhalf Jano Vermaak, who had an operation on his neck and won’t be available for between three and four months.

Louis Schreuder is likely to start the match against the Sunwolves if Groom is not fit to play after he deputised for the former UCT Ikeys No 9 in the match against the Jagauares.

In the pack, utility forward Rynhardt Elstadt has recovered from his groin injury and seems to be in the mix for the match against the Sunwolves.

With Western Province starting their Currie Cup campaign against the Blue Bulls at the Newlands this weekend, the Stormers’ management may decide to let the fiery Elstadt get a few minutes under the belt for WP.

Besides, the four men who have been vying for a three starting berths in the loose trio are playing some good rugby at the moment, and it’s going to be difficult for Fleck to leave either one of them out of the 23-man squad this weekend.

Openside flank Sikhumbuzo Nothse is the junior in the pack, but he was very good against the Jaguares. His work-rate was outstanding, as he hit countless rucks and made a whopping 19 tackles against Argentina’s Super Rugby outfit. But he also possesses that X-factor on attack, which could be ideal against the Sunwolves. - Cape Times

Original source: Kolbe boost for Stormers

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