Stormers coach Robbie Fleck says that there is a “good chance” utility back Dillyn Leyds will take over at flyhalf against the Blues on Friday.
The Stormers were left with a flyhalf crisis of note when Robert du Preez was ruled out after tearing a pectoral muscle against the Hurricanes in Wellington, while Jean-Luc du Plessis is expected to spend another two to three weeks on the sidelines.
Damian Willemse is preparing for the World Rugby Under-20 Championships with Chean Roux’s Junior Boks in Georgia later this month. Kurt Coleman is also unavailable due to an ankle injury.
Leyds who has played mostly at left wing and occasionally at fullback this season, was mentioned as one of three possible flyhalf stand-ins.
“We’ve got Dillyn, we’ve recalled Brandon Thomson from the Currie Cup side and we’ve got Joe Pietersen, who’s been training with us,” Fleck said.
“Unfortunately Damian will only be able to join us for the last three games. Hopefully Jean-Luc gets a game for the Supersport (Rugby Challenge) side in two or three weeks’ time.”
“Thommo was over in Glasgow for a large part of this campaign and he’s played the last couple of games for Dobbo (John Dobson), so it’s quite an easy transition for him to come into this side."
Leyds featured at flyhalf for the Stormers against the Hurricanes in Du Preez’s absence, and while Fleck added that they were “still deciding” who would get the nod, he said Leyds’ experience and playmaking ability make him a fit for the role.
“Dillyn has done the job on tour and there’s a good chance we’ll play him there. He’s been with us the longest and he’s been running the show. He knows the patterns, our structures and our systems the best. And I’d say so does Joe, he’s been training with us for three of four months.
“There are certain skills that Dillyn brings to the table that are quite unique as a 10. But they’ve all got their strengths and weakness, and we’re going to choose the one who’s best suited to the way we want to play.”
Meanwhile, the Stormers coach said that he wasn’t planning on steering away from their new attacking approach after a tough three-match tour to New Zealand, and added that they learnt a lot from the tour, even though the results didn’t go their way.
“I haven’t lost confidence in terms of my coaching and what we’re supposed to be doing here and neither have the other coaches. We’re certainly excited about the path we’ve chosen and we’re not going to veer too far from it.
“I think we came back from tour with a better maul and a better lineout, we struggled with our set-piece before. We’re trying to introduce line-speed into our system, it’s something that our players have never experienced before.
“This is something new for us, so we’re going to make mistakes. The Lions took five years to put their game in place, and people are expecting us to do it in three months.”