Having not played since February due to ankle surgery and a broken toe, Etzebeth, left, is back to full fitness and is in line to return to the Bok squad which is set to be announced on Saturday.
But preparing for their Currie Cup opener against the Kings in PE next Friday, Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has his reservations, although he expressed his satisfaction with the condition of the towering Bok second-rower.
“Eben has worked hard to regain fitness and he’s ready to play – but I would like to see him work on his match fitness first by playing for us before the Boks call him up,” said Coetzee.
Another player held in high esteem by Bok coach Heyneke Meyer who is nearing fitness is prop Frans Malherbe, who has had major concussion issues over the last three months.
“Frans has now reached a stage where he can take full contact and he too could do with match-action,” said Coetzee.
Jean de Villiers is running flat out and midfield partner Damian de Allende is running in a controlled environment as both recover from knee injuries.