CAPE TOWN - Stormers coach Robbie Fleck might regard Cheslin Kolbe as “irreplaceable”, but he’s confident the players he has in his squad now also possess some “special” talents of their own.
While discussing his goals and plans for the Super Rugby season ahead, Fleck explained that he wants his team to be able to play any kind of game. And it’s in chaotic, unstructured spells that the Stormers coach wants his team to grow.
Kolbe’s abilities need no introduction to the Newlands Faithful, and anyone who’s ever seen him effortlessly deceive opposition defences would know Kolbe thrives in those “chaotic” on-field situations.
With Province and the Stormers, Kolbe has showed his potency in broken play, and since joining Top 14 side Toulouse in August last year ahead of their 2017-18 season, the performances he’s produced have been simply superb (respected French rugby paper Midi Olympique even hailed him as the best signing in French rugby last season).
But unfortunately Kolbe isn’t at the Stormers’ disposal to create individual brilliance, and Fleck is now looking to seeing what recruits Raymond Rhule and Sergeal Petersen can bring to the Cape.
“I’m a big fan of Cheslin, he’s irreplaceable in terms of his character, and as a player,” Fleck said.
“Rhule and Petersen have good footwork and some special talents. And they’ve got speed. So with Cheslin leaving it’s opened the door for another player.”
“We feel that those two kids can bring something to the table, and we want to give them as much freedom as Cheslin did.
“So we’re pretty excited we’ve got the right players within our squad to play various types of games, and whether it will be chaotic or whether we want set-piece dominance or have to be gain-line oriented, we feel we’ve got a good balance in the squad.”
Of course there are also a number of other players who can pump up the Stormers’ X-factor reserves this season.
Young flyhalf Damian Willemse most probably tops the exciting-players-to-watch list, while Sevens maestro Seabelo Senatla will also be rejoining the Stormers.
Then there’s also Springbok Dillyn Leyds - who had a massive season last year both in the Currie Cup and Super Rugby.
“The leadership is young and healthy and they’re leading by example, and the rest of the guys are following.
“If we just keep improving their skills and giving them the confidence to play the kind of game that we want to play, then I think we’ll be alright,” Fleck said.