They’ve got their ducks in a row but it’s hardly been an ideal week of preparation for the Stormers as they build up towards Saturday’s Super Rugby meeting with the Crusaders in Christchurch.
Injuries continue to keep Robbie Fleck and his brains trust on their toes, especially in the backline.
As it stands, Dillyn Leyds will have the tough task of orchestrating the Capetonians’ attacking play and decision-making against the defending champions following young Damian Willemse’s failure to recover from a quad injury.
“We decided that we had to make a decision early in the week about our flyhalf,” Fleck said on Thursday.
“Dillyn is an experienced campaigner and played at 1o for us in our victory over the Blues last season. He’s a player who can really make a difference, particularly in the way he can control the game. George Whitehead has done well to date for us but he only joined us in the off-season (on loan from Griquas). Dillyn is more familiar with our system and we just felt he could more readily move into the position.”
However, that careful planning could possibly come to nothing anyway.
Following his inclusion at fullback, SP Marais picked up a knock in training, putting his participation in doubt.
“We’re going to make a call on him on Friday. Should SP not be ready, we’re going to have to bring in George because he will then be the only recognised goal-kicker,” said Fleck.
“He’ll come in at 10 with Dillyn moving back to fullback. We can also ask (scrumhalf) Dewaldt Duvenage to kick for posts.”
In another notable change, Springbok prop Steven Kitshoff will be utilised as an impact player off the bench in a role similar he fulfills at international level.
“Steven has played the bulk of the two games to date. The Crusaders are strong finishers in matches, so it will be good to have a mobile, strong player like him in the latter part of the game. Steven can give us a strong scrum later on when we need it and will add value,” said Fleck.
Stormers: SP Marais, Seabelo Senatla, EW Viljoen, Damian de Allende, Raymond Rhule, Dillyn Leyds, Dewaldt Duvenage, Nizaam Carr, Cobus Wiese, Siya Kolisi (c), Pieter-Steph du Toit, JD Schickerling, Wilco Louw, Ramone Samuels, JC Janse van Rensburg. Bench: Dean Muir, Steven Kitshoff, Carlu Sadie, Jan de Klerk, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Kobus van Dyk, Justin Phillips, George Whitehead.