Stormers coach John Dobson says the decision to move Damian Willemse from flyhalf to fullback was a tactical one – and not due to the Springbok’s struggling form at pivot.
Willemse will start at the back in Saturday’s Super Rugby encounter against the Sharks in Durban, with Jean-Luc du Plessis starting in the No 10 jersey.
Willemse’s form at flyhalf was indifferent in the Stormers’ first five games of the season, but Dobson stressed on Thursday that the move was made to counter the Sharks’ tactical kicking.
“We know the Sharks kick a lot. If we get involved in such a battle, then it becomes problematic if you have two guys (flyhalf and fullback) who both kick with their right foot,” Dobson said, as quoted by Netwerk24.
Du Plessis’ left boot will therefore come in handy on Saturday.
“It gives us another option for counter-attacks and Jean-Luc has performed well every time we’ve brought him on. We have a plan for which Jean-Luc is tailor-made,” Dobson added.
With Willemse starting at fullback, regular No 15 Dillyn Leyds has been moved to right wing.
“We’re thankful that Damian and Dillyn are willing to shift to accommodate the team. It’s 100% tactical,” Dobson explained.
Dobson also made changes to his forward pack, with tighthead prop Frans Malherbe and lock Salmaan Moerat both back in the starting line-up.
There are two new flanks in Ernst van Rhyn and Johan du Toit, who replaces his injured brother Pieter-Steph.
Cobus Wiese comes in on the bench and is expected to make an impact in the second half.
Saturday’s clash at Kings Park is scheduled for 15:05.
Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Andre
Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8
Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4
Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ox Nche
16 Craig Burden, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Le Roux
Roets, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Sanele Nohamba, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Madosh
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
Substitutes: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Wilco
Louw, 19 Cobus Wiese, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Rikus
Pretorius, 23 Sergeal Petersen
– Compiled by Herman Mostert