CAPE TOWN – Despite his flyhalf crisis, Stormers coach Robbie Fleck is confident about “natural ball player” Dillyn Leyds’ ability to do the job at No 10 against the Blues on Friday (7.10pm kickoff).
Leyds has been entrusted with the role of the general for the Stormers’ last match against New Zealand opposition in the group stages, and the fact that he’s had a recent taste of the position was also comforting for his coach.
Against the Hurricanes, Leyds took charge at flyhalf after Robert du Preez left the field with a torn pectoral muscle, and against the Highlanders he also featured at No 10. Therefore, Fleck believes that the versatile back was their best option, keeping continuity in the position.
“With Dillyn having covered that position on tour, it made sense for him to slot in there. Thommo (Brandon Thomson) comes into the set-up having played a number of games for us last year, and he’s been in good form with Western Province.”
Fleck also added that injured pivot Jean-Luc du Plessis’ recovery was looking promising and that he’s expected to return to action soon.
“For me, Dillyn is a natural ball-player and he’s going to have to do the job there for us, certainly for the next two weeks. It’s the most continuity we can have in the position, given the injuries. Jean-Luc du Plessis is working hard and he might make his comeback soon.”
Fleck also said that he just wants his team “to play with courage” again. The Stormers mentor made a specific reference to the first six games his side played in – before they went on a three-match tour to New Zealand that didn’t end well, to say the least.
And one of his biggest goals going into their round 13 fixture is to build that confidence again after conceding 50 points against the Crusaders and the Highlanders and 40 against the Hurricanes.
“I obviously want to see an improvement from the tour and I want them to play like they played earlier in the season. We want to play with courage. We want to find our mojo again and find that confidence again,” Fleck said.
Fleck will also be hoping that Sevens star Seabelo Senatla will help his team rediscover some of that mojo when he starts on the left wing after returning from injury.
“He’s looking fit and strong (Senatla). He adds a bit of pace to our backline and he brings a new dynamic. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing him play,” Fleck said.
In terms of his midfield selection, Fleck stayed true to his promise of rewarding good form when resisted temptation and opted to go with former Highlander Shaun Treeby at inside centre instead of fit-again Springbok Damian de Allende, while he also said that No 13 EW Viljoen has fully deserved his spot in this weekend’s line-up.
Fleck also praised young loose forward Kobus van Dyk’s performances in New Zealand.
“I felt that Shaun Treeby did very well against the Canes – defensively he was solid, and he created a lot of line-speed there,” Fleck said.
“I took a view on Juan de Jongh and Rynhardt Elstadt that they get some more game time, so they’ll play 80 minutes for (John) Dobson’s (Western Province) side on Friday.
“Kobus van Dyk played really well against the Hurricanes and EW Viljoen is in good form as well, so to be fair to them, they’ve earned their place. And it will be good for Juan and Rynhardt to get some good game time before the Sharks game.”
Teams For Newlands
Stormers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Dillyn Leyds, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Siya Kolisi (captain), 6 Kobus van Dyk, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble.
Bench: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Brandon Thomson, 23 Damian de Allende.
Blues: 15 Melani Nanai, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 George Moala, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Ofa Tu’ungafasi.
Bench: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 Michael Collins.