Top three candidates to replace Leyds
While Western Province and the Stormers are lucky not to have lost many of their regular Springboks post the World Cup, losing a player like Dillyn Leyds (La Rochelle) can’t hurt much less than if that had been the case. His wizardry from the back has entertained fans for almost a decade. His counter-attacking brilliance will be hard to replace, and finding a replacement for the No 15 jumper is crucial.
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This was definitely not how I wanted things to end and right now I would give anything for just one more 80 with the boys but nevertheless my time has come to say goodbye, a really tough goodbye to the @dhlstormers and @dhlwp family. The last 7 years has all been an absolute dream come true for me. I got to do what I love and enjoy in one of the best cities in the world and at one of rugby’s most iconic venues week in and week out. To the fans, thanks so much for your support, it’s very much appreciated. You guys have really made Newlands that much more special and I think I speak for us all as players when i say we’re sad to see it go. Whether it’s a “boo” from the grand stand or “gaan sny jou hare” from the railway stand😂I know I will miss it all dearly. I want to say thank you to the management and coaching staff who’ve helped and guided me during my time over here. To my team mates, words won’t do it any justice as to how much I have enjoyed my time on and off the field with you guys. I’ll leave here with so many great memories and valuable friendships that were built during this time and to me that’s ultimately the biggest W. I really hope there’ll be time for one more team social just to end it off in style. Thank you Cape Town. It was lekke, nca ,and so vibey. Hopefully I’ve also left you guys with some good memories and not just one lucky pass🤟🏽♥️
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Here are three options:
While the ‘he’s a 10 and that’s where he should be used’ argument could be seen as enough to have Willemse’s name scratched off this list, if there had to be an obvious guess for someone to come in at 15, it would be him.
He’s spent some time in the position for the Stormers and it’s clear that full-back is where he’ll find himself when it comes to the national frame, and the fact that he has the most reliable boot among these candidates counts for something. Jean-Luc du Plessis did well for the Stormers in Super Rugby this season, and that might have been enough for John Dobson to start housing Willemse at 15 regularly once rugby resumes.
Tristan shares more than some DNA and a surname with Dillyn - producing scintillating runs from the back is also a common trait. While he hasn’t made his Super Rugby debut yet, those who have watched some varsity rugby will tell you that this guy knows how to spearhead attack. Just like his brother, the versatile back offers excitement and X-factor in no small quantity.
Petersen can be devastating in broken play and on the counter, and his top-notch control under the high ball adds a few bonus points to this full-back prospect. But how’s that boot?
Leyds wasn’t exactly known for his kicking either (given all his attacking skills, kicking would probably feature down the list), but if he needed to clear, he could get the job done. Petersen, on the other hand, would probably need to spend some time practising his kicks to have a run in this role.