Stormers bank on Elstadt’s agro

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The utility forward will be making his first start of the season at lock for the Cape franchise after coming off the bench in their last few matches after recovering from injury.

JD Schickerling has done good work for the Stormers in the absence of the influential powerhouse Eben Etzebeth, and the Stormers will certainly miss his line-out ability at the front.

But, what they lose in height, Elstadt makes up for it in pure physicality.Elstadt will hit a lot more rucks, and play the role of enforcer, which is a role that he has also fulfilled as a loose forward.

He has played his best rugby of his career for the Stormers as a No 4 lock. Unfortunately, because of his aggressive style of play, injuries haven’t been too kind to him.

But, with Etzebeth still a couple of weeks away from getting on the park again, he will be a good player to have on the field against a Reds team who aren’t exactly lightweights.”It was just a matter of getting him back to fitness, bringing him off the bench over the last couple of weeks,” Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said on Friday.

”He has also been training incredibly hard, and this is a game we had earmarked two or three weeks ago for him to make his return. It’s good for the squad, he needs to get some more gametime. “I felt that Schickerling has been outstanding in his starts, whether that is at five or four. “But it’s the right time for Rynhardt to make a comeback.

”Springbok Damian de Allende is also going to make his long-awaited start for the Stormers on Saturday following an ankle injury that he sustained on club rugby duty in Japan.

De Allende has come off the bench over the last few weeks, and replaces co-captain Juan de Jongh, who sustained a delayed concussion after last week’s match against the Lions, at No 12.Fleck said De Allende would have started at inside centre even if De Jongh was fit, as the skipper would have probably moved to outside centre.

But De Allende will now play alongside Johnny Kotze, who needs a solid outing against the Reds on Friday afternoon.

”I felt that he has worked hard enough these past couple of weeks at training, and this is the perfect time for him to get back into the starting line-up,” Fleck said.

“Juan’s medical report came in on Monday afternoon, and he had a delayed concussion. “He failed that Test on Monday afternoon and he didn’t train and all this week with us. But he should be good to go next week.”The Stormers also roped in Currie Cup flyhalf Brandon Thompson, who will be on the bench for his first ever Super Rugby match.

”Tommo has been part of the system for a long time and he played in the warm-up games. “He played well for Province against the Bulls the other day, and it certainly brings a bit more balance to the team. He is a solid player, I worked with him with the Under-21 last year.

“He has got good distance on his boot, kicks well to poles, a good distributor. Probably, Jean-Luc (du Plessis) has a bit more X-Factor, while Tommo is a bit more controlled.”

Cape Argus

Original source: Stormers bank on Elstadt's agro

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