“I’m only feeding him potatoes this week. Hopefully he’ll weigh 80kg by the weekend.”
Paul Feeney, the Stormers’ backline and skills coach, was clearly joking about his star winger Dillyn Leyds.
But the issue is rather real.
When the 24-year-old speedster takes the field against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday, his direct opponent will probably be Seta Tamanivalu – a 1.89m, 105kg hulk.
Leyds weighs 78kg.
It’s little wonder then some Stormers fans would feel more comfortable if the winger packed the pounds a bit more.
Yet Leyds isn’t worried.
“When I take the field, my direct opponent will probably be bigger than me nine times out of ten,” he said on Tuesday from Auckland.
“There’s really nothing much I can do about it. It’s a physical game, you always have to try and stop your opponent.
“You can’t sit and worry about tackling giants.”
He’s clearly taken that lesson to heart because he hasn’t looked out of place to date as a defender.
Leyds has made 24 tackles in this campaign and missed only six.
Together with wing partner Cheslin Kolbe – who’s even smaller at 76kg – they almost made a combined 50 tackles.
“We’re not fixated on size,” said Feeney, the mastermind between the Stormers’ more refined skills in 2017.
“Dillyn and Cheslin are excellent defenders. Most of their opponents will be bigger than them. But you get players who actually manage to play rugby as if they’re 10kg heavier.
“That’s Dillyn and Cheslin.”
Even if the Stormers are expected to defend a lot this weekend, Leyds will hope he continues to be granted the opportunities to show his attacking talents.
The former Force player scored a brilliant individual try last weekend against the Lions and literally had the world purring over his stupendous pass against the Chiefs.
“That pass was a calculated risk gone right,” said Leyds.
“I’m just really happy it came off 100%.”
It’s just a small illustration of his excellent form.
“There was no big goal this year. I really just wanted to ensure I make the starting line-up weekly,” said Leyds.
“My form is decent.”
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