World-class Gelant is a natural baller, says Stormers' Damian Willemse

By Wynona Louw Time of article published Jun 3, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - Stormers flyhalf Damian Willemse says new recruit Warrick Gelant will “definitely be a leader in the backline” when he touches down in Cape Town in a month’s time.

The Stormers recently announced that the Springbok back will be joining an exciting backline when he leaves the Bulls. Gelant will fill the gap left by Dillyn Leyds, who is set to join French club La Rochelle.

Gelant’s boot is certainly one of the big contributions he will bring to the Stormers, but that balling ability is one of the things Willemse is most looking forward to welcoming.

“I’m really excited for Warrick to come down to Cape Town, he’s a great signing. He’s a world-class player, we all know that, and with Dillyn leaving, he’ll fill that position. He’ll definitely be a leader in that backline,” Willemse said of Gelant.

“It was amazing working with him at the World Cup. I can’t praise him enough for his work ethic and the way he plays the game, he’s such a natural baller, so I’m really looking forward to playing with him. I’m really excited to see him come down, not just for me, but for the franchise as well. It’s going to be great to have another world-class player.

“Warrick will definitely play a huge role in our kicking game as well, it’s so helpful to have a player who can kick off both feet, so he’ll play a big role in assisting me and the team with his left boot.”

Damian Willemse: 'We all know I prefer No 10.' Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Willemse added that he himself has been focusing on his kicking. And when the inevitable “10 or 15” question came up during an interview with the World Cup-winner yesterday, he explained that rotating between the two positions at Super Rugby and Test level has helped him develop his game.

“Goal-kicking is one of my main priorities and something I’m working hard on. I’ve been doing some kicking, I put in a session this morning at Markotter, so ja,” Willemse said. “The plan has always been to use me at (No) 10 and 15, so that’s the two positions I’m rotating. I’ve been playing at 10 for the Stormers, and nationally, it depends. Playing both positions has given me a lot of opportunity to grow as a player and to see the game from different areas.

“We all know I prefer No 10 and coach John (Dobson) and the coaching staff have backed me at No 10, but they’ve always given me the opportunity to play at 15.”

After announcing Gelant’s signing, Dobson said that he had first spoken to Willemse about his plans - a move that Willemse said he really appreciates. “I can’t praise coach Dobbo enough for letting me know, it just shows that he does care and wanted my input,” he said.

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