Jean-Luc du Plessis could be key in how the Stormers go against the Sharks tomorrow (kick-off 3.05pm).  Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Jean-Luc du Plessis could be key in how the Stormers go against the Sharks tomorrow (kick-off 3.05pm). Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Jean-Luc du Plessis could be key in how the Stormers go against the Sharks

By Wynona Louw Time of article published Mar 13, 2020

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Jean-Luc du Plessis could be key in how the Stormers go against the Sharks tomorrow (kick-off 3.05pm). 

Du Plessis will get his first start of the season, with Damian Willemse coming in at fullback and Dillyn Leyds on the wing.

Sergeal Petersen moves to the bench for the big South African derby, and up front, Johan du Toit replaces his injured brother Pieter-Steph at blindside flank, with Ernst van Rhyn at No 6 in the place of Jaco Coetzee, who'll provide cover off the bench. 

In the second row, Salmaan Moerat and JD Schicklerling pair up, with Chris van Zyl among the replacements. 

In a rotational switch, Frans Malherbe returns to the starting lineup at tighthead prop in place of Wilco Louw.

Du Plessis had made a real impact whenever he's come off the bench in 2020, while Willemse has struggled to perform at his best until now. 

In a general sense, Willemse's contributions have been decent, but his kicks at goal have been a concern during the first few rounds of Super Rugby. 

While Willemse's performance against the Blues was heavily influenced by his forward pack's struggle, it will be good to see how Du Plessis goes in a starting role. 

He also adds a solid kicking option against a Sharks team that pose a real threat when it comes to the territory and aerial game, and given the kick-chase potency that the Durbanites bring, accurate boot work will be vital. 

On the backline changes, Dobson said: "I say thanks to Damian and Dillyn who were prepared to move for the team. It's really around the kicking game. 

"Dillyn is a superb fullback, he's doing uit for the team, so it was those kinds of conversations."

Dobson also explained his loose forward selections in Pieter-Steph du Toit's absence due to injury. 

"Jaco is by no means the only guy who didn't work particularly hard against the Blues, we can't be seen to reward that. Jaco has had an outstanding season so far, he can change a game. 

"Maybe he's not quite ready for 80 minutes, but he has a specific role to play this weekend.

"Ernst van Rhyn is really good at the breakdown, we went for Johan because he has a massive amount of speed and energy, and that's important given their kicking game, he's good with chase lines and that sort of thing.

"Ernst is a similar replacement for Pieter-Steph in terms of his work ethic. The other argument is that if you went for Trokkie and Jaco in the same team without Pieter-Steph, you could be under pressure in terms of the lineout. So it was a pretty important consideration."

Stormers – 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Ernst van Rhyn, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff (capt)

Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwezo Blose, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Cobus Wiese, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Rikus Pretorius, 23 Sergeal Petersen.

@WynonaLouw 


IOL Sport

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