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Fleck has faith in Coleman
Cape Town - When Kurt Coleman is discussed at Western Province, one hears of a young flyhalf with exceptional distribution skills.
However, last week the 21-year-old was clearly nervous in his first start for the Stormers against the Brumbies.
That is why all eyes will be on Coleman in Friday's match against the Melbourne Rebels. His direct opponent is Julian Huxley - an experienced Wallaby with the ability to keep a cool head under pressure.
"Kurt must take control. We have chatted to him this week," said Stormers backline coach Robbie Fleck.
"He's had lot more time this week to slot in and is a lot more relaxed. I have all the confidence in the world that it will go well."
As coach, Fleck doesn't really have any other choice than to express his confidence in a player. However, it's ultimately up to the player himself to answer the tough questions where it matters: between the lines on the field.
Coleman looked tense last week and it also appeared as if the Stormers were deliberately keeping the ball away from him.
He ultimately played an important part in the Stormers' 16-3 win
because he succeeded with three of his four kicks at goal. However, more will be expected of him in other areas as well on Friday.
The choice of Jean de Villiers as inside centre should also make it easier for Coleman.
Juan de Jongh is also an outstanding inside centre, but De Villiers is the kind of leader that the Stormers need in their backline without the first-choice halfback pairing of Dewaldt Duvenage and Peter Grant.
The Stormers hope Grant will be ready for next weekend's match against the Bulls, but the injury crisis among the Cape flyhalves has reached a level where it becomes so much more important that the man in the saddle is capable of handling pressure.
Earl Rose is the Stormers' insurance policy. Not many supporters will be excited about that, but as Fleck himself said, Rose is a "footballer".
"Earl has been easy to manage and coach. He attacks the line well and is excited to be here and about the second chance he's getting," said Fleck.
The importance of Friday's game for the Stormers cannot be over-stated. If you're among the contenders and playing against the Rebels, you have to make the most of the opportunity - especially with tough derbies against the Bulls and Cheetahs around the corner.
While the Rebels are at the bottom of the log, it's likely to motivate rather than deflate them. They are newcomers in the tournament and that is why there is not yet pressure on them to do well.
The Aussies would probably have set it as a goal not to end at the bottom of the log - and that is exactly where they find themselves now.
They are certainly more competitive on their home turf - just ask the Brumbies, Sharks and Hurricanes.
But this is not the kind of game that the Stormers could afford to lose. And they shouldn't.
The only real question should be whether the Stormers are going to earn four or five log points.Teams:Melbourne Rebels:
15 Richard Kingi, 14 Lachlan Mitchell, 13 Mark Gerrard, 12 Stirling Mortlock (captain), 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Julian Huxley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Gareth Delve, 7 Michael Lipman, 6 Jarrod Saffy, 5 Hugh Pyle, 4 Alister Campbell, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson
Substitutes: 16 Adam Freier, 17 Greg Somerville, 18 Kevin O’Neill, 19 Tim Davidson, 20 Sam Cordingley, 21 Peter Betham, 22 Afusipa TaumoepeauStormers:
15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Schalk Burger (captain), 5 Anton van Zyl, 4 Rynhardt Elstadt, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Wicus Blaauw
Substitutes: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Frans Malherbe, 18 Andries Bekker 19 Nick Koster, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Earl Rose, 22 Juan de JonghReferee:
Chris Pollock (New Zealand).
Stuart Dickinson and Angus Gardner (both Australia). TMO:
George Ayoub (Australia).