CAPE TOWN – “Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune.”
These were the words of American self-help author Napoleon Hill, best known for his book Think and Grow Rich, which is among the 10 best selling self-help reads of all time.
With Robbie Fleck thankfully not possessing the same motto as his good mate Herschelle Gibbs for proudly never having read a book in his life, the Stormers coach may actually be aware of the famous line.
He would do well to remember it too, after scrumhalf Jano Vermaak was ruled out for four-to-six weeks yesterday with a knee injury.
While the loss of the veteran scrumhalf’s services is undoubtedly a significant blow to the Stormers, it has opened the door for last week’s hero Herschel Jantjies to get his first start in Super Rugby.
“I am very happy with him (Jantjies). He made a big difference when he came on. He tests the defence around the fringes. That’s what we expect from him, and he scored an outstanding try,” Fleck said of the livewire former University of the Western Cape No 9.
“But for us, it was the ability to get the ball away nice and cleanly. He gave our outside backs a bit of space.
“For me, he is going very well. He got a lot of confidence playing regularly at Currie Cup level, and he has taken that into Super Rugby.”
Jantjies, 22, is one of three changes to the run-on XV to face the Sharks at Kings Park on Saturday, along with Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth and centre Dan du Plessis.
Etzebeth replaces Chris van Zyl, with Ruhan Nel dropping to the bench to accommodate Du Plessis’ return.
Etzebeth showed off all of his distinguished brutish qualities in his 30-minute cameo against the Lions last week, and will once again be expected to haul out his tough guy act in Durban tomorrow.
He is undoubtedly the catalyst that gets the Stormers’ Bok-laden pack going forward, which allows the likes of Jantjies, Du Plessis and Co to show off their silky skills.
Fleck is certainly eager to see Du Plessis – cousin of flyhalf Jean-Luc – with ball-in-hand, now that the injury-prone centre is finally back to full fitness.
“I coached Dan at Under-21 level. He showed his talent back then already. He has been really unfortunate with injuries, like his cousin.
“This was probably the best pre-season I have seen him have. He came through with flying colours.
“He offers something different, runs nice hard lines, and brings a lot of energy to the group,” Fleck said.
With both Du Plessis cousins in the line-up, it means that Damian Willemse has retained his fullback berth, despite Dillyn Leyds returning from injury.
Leyds will have to be content with having to make an impact from the reserves, with Fleck keeping the Bok utility back on the bench.
Teams For Durban
Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Rob du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Dan du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Akker van Merwe, Tendai Mtawarira.
Bench: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Phendulani Buthelezi, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Curwin Bosch.
Stormers: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 SP Marais, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Bench: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Ruhan Nel, 23 Dillyn Leyds.@ZaahierAdams