“It’s very unfortunate to again start a new Super Rugby season without Eben Etzebeth,” Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said in a statement on Thursday.
“However, it opens up an opportunity for other players to step up and take the gap in Eben’s absence.
“De Kock Steenkamp, Rynhardt Elstadt and Michael Rhodes have plenty of Super Rugby experience already, while our younger training squad members like Tazz Fuzani, Ruan Botha and Jean Kleyn will have to step up.”
Etzebeth, who had made 21 Super Rugby appearances for the Stormers since his debut in 2012, had been ruled out for the next four to six months.
In other injury concerns, Coetzee said Gerbrandt Grobler (ankle) would still be out of action for some time, but they had signed experienced Test lock, Manuel Carizza, who was expected to arrive in January 2014.