Rugby 21.4.2017 05:08 pm

Are the Stormers needlessly risking Pieter-Steph du Toit at 7?

Can Pieter-Steph du Toit deliver as a flank?. Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images.

Can Pieter-Steph du Toit deliver as a flank?. Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images.

The Springbok lock has been switched to blindside flank before without much success but coach Robbie Fleck still has faith in such a move.

Stormers coach Robbie Fleck insists he’s not running into an old brick wall by picking Pieter-Steph du Toit as a blindside flanker.

Many of his colleagues have had their noses bloodied in the past when they’ve switched the Springbok lock to the No 7 jersey.

Yet he believes it’s perhaps the only way to trouble the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday – who boast a pack oozing All Black talent.

Also read: Why Curwin Bosch is now SA rugby’s most important player in 2017

“(Regular captain) Siya Kolisi needed a rest as Saru dictates with the nationally-contracted players,” said Fleck.

“As a result, we needed another strong ball-carrier at flank.”

Du Toit has the bulk at 116kg but his height of 2 m is too tall for a flanker.

When used in that position previously – especially at Springbok level – he’s performed rather disappointingly.

It’s still not enough to convince Fleck that he’s taking a gamble, perhaps because he knows it’s probably only a one-off arrangement.

“The Crusaders are a massive threat from the set-pieces. They score a lot of tries from the scrums and lineouts,” he said.

“Playing Pieter-Steph at 7 also means we have another specialist lineout jumper to counter them. He answers many of the questions that are going to be asked about us.

“It was important that we balanced our loose trio in Siya’s absence and he goes a long way to doing that for us.”

If Du Toit delivers a good performance though, it will certainly interest the Springbok coaching staff.

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