DURBAN - When Stormers youngster Damian Willemse was selected for the Springboks’ Rugby Championship squad, it was mostly heralded as a good move. The Baby Bok star offers so much to the national side with his attacking flair, defensive prowess and versatility around the backline.
However, the question that arose was where to play the mercurial back, especially as a potential test debutant. Many feel Willemse’s best position is at No 10, however, that is not where the coach is lining him up in this current set up.
Rassie Erasmus has said he sees Willemse as a fullback. With Willie le Roux the experienced first choice man at No 15, and his deputy from June, Warrick Gelant, out with injury, Willemse is stepping up into the role of apprentice Bok fullback.
“If a guy like Warrick was fit now, he could learn a lot of things from Willie. We really should have started Warrick against England, but now he is unfortunately injured. So, now we are seeing Damian very much in that role.”
What it also allows is for Erasmus to not need an out-and-out specialist flyhalf on the bench - much like he did in one of the Test matches against England. If Willemse was to start, or be on the bench, it means that he can fill either role should the circumstances arise.