Rugby 26.8.2014 04:40 pm

Taute gets his spot in WP sun

Jaco Taute during the DHL Stormers training session and press conference at HIgh Performance Centre in Bellville on February 18, 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa.Photo by Ashley Vlotman / Gallo Images

Jaco Taute during the DHL Stormers training session and press conference at HIgh Performance Centre in Bellville on February 18, 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa.Photo by Ashley Vlotman / Gallo Images

Even now, the uneasy feeling persists that Jaco Taute might fall victim to the hackneyed rugby curse of being too versatile.

Is he a fullback or is he a midfielder?

Or is there enough potential for a curve-ball at flyhalf?

Injury-riddled for the last 18 months, Western Province are now aiming to finally extract the best out of their acquisition from the Lions last year by settling him in midfield for the Currie Cup campaign.

Coach Allister Coetzee is expected to name him at inside centre for Saturday’s North-South derby against the Blue Bulls at Loftus.

For the 23-year-old, questions over positional preferences aren’t even relevant – he just wants to play.

“I’m familiar with No 12. It’s a position I played in at school and my junior years, so I’m quite comfortable there,” said Taute on Tuesday.

“Frankly, I’ve realised that the way we’re currently playing, I’m needed at 12.”

It’s no secret that Province team management favour the diminutive but dynamic Cheslin Kolbe at fullback, prompting a rethink after a poor Super Rugby campaign where it was decided that the former Monnas pupil should shift to midfield.

In fact, Taute’s four Tests in 2012 came as an outside centre.

“There are a few things that he’ll still need to work on,” admitted Province backline mentor Robbie Fleck.

“But overall, I think 12 is going to be an easy transition for Jaco. He invariably shifted to first or second receiver for us in Super Rugby, so it’s something he’s used to and it’s technically not such a big jump.”

But Fleck acknowledged that Taute’s one weak point remains one that was pointed out at international level too – marking.

“His biggest challenge will be his defending in that channel. It’s a congested and busy one, so he’ll need to be up to it. Yet I really rate his organisational and communication skills, which are really important for an inside centre. He also likes to have fun on the field. That’s a nice trait.”

Despite Fleck’s insistence that his talented exponent’s work on his tactical kicking could come in handy, there’s subtle intimation that Taute’s enthusiasm for his new role might also stem from the possibility that he won’t have to kick as much from hand.

While he is a talented goal-kicker, his kicking from broken play has never been entirely convincing.

“I’m enjoying our new direction. I always want to keep ball in hand and score tries. Distribution is something I pride myself on, but I’m working hard on the kicking aspect of the position,” said Taute.

Brought on for 20 minutes during last weekend’s 27-14 win over the Lions, Taute – who scored a try against his former team-mates – showed enough encouragement for Fleck to heartily take a chance on him.

“What was impressive was that he was defensively strong. Jaco definitely bulks up the midfield and his try was a good one because he exhibited good support play on the inside. He definitely played his role in that win,” noted the former Springbok centre.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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