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    Massive task for new-look Stormers

    2017-05-17 18:22

    Lloyd Burnard - Sport24

    Cape Town - It is difficult to know what to expect from the Stormers when they take on the Blues at Newlands on Friday night, and a lot of that has to do with their new flyhalf. 

    With Robert du Preez, Jean-Luc du Plessis and Kurt Coleman all out injured, coach Robbie Fleck has turned to Dillyn Leyds to be his general in what will be the Stormers' final clash against New Zealand opposition this Super Rugby regular season. 

    The next time the Stormers meet a Kiwi side, it will be in the quarter-finals, and they will want to give themselves a boost of confidence before that time comes. 

    The Stormers remain the only side from outside of New Zealand to have won against New Zealand opposition, but since that 34-26 win over the Chiefs at Newlands on April 8, Fleck has seen his side lose four straight matches. 

    Three of those were against New Zealand sides when the Crusaders, Highlanders and Hurricanes combined to score 24 tries past the Capetonians on what was a forgettable tour.

    Now, though, the Stormers are back on home soil and they have a new man in their No 10 jumper. 

    For a long while, Leyds has been vocal on his desires to play at flyhalf, but there has always been young talent in the position at Newlands that Fleck has backed instead. 

    It also doesn't help that, in 2017, Leyds has been simply sublime on the left wing. 

    On Friday night, Leyds will finally have the chance to show what he is made of as a flyhalf.

    When one looks at his combination with Shaun Treeby and EW Viljoen in the midfield, then things become slightly uncertain for the Stormers. 

    There is no way in a million years that, at the start of the season, anyone could have predicted a 10/12/13 combination of Leyds, Treeby and Viljoen. 

    It is only the second time that Viljoen and New Zealander Treeby have started together, and the fact that they are teaming up with a makeshift flyhalf could be concerning for Stormers fans given the quality of their opposition on Friday.

    Fleck did also have Juan de Jongh and Damian de Allende fit and available after recovering from their respective injuries, but he has opted to give De Jongh game time with the SuperSport Challenge side this weekend while De Allende is on the Stormers bench. 

    It is also Fleck's way of rewarding Viljoen, who he considers to be one of the standout players in his side so far this year. 

    On Friday, this 10/12/13 Stormers combination will face an All Black midfield of superstars Sonny Bill Williams and George Moala.

    "Obviously it is an untested combination," Fleck said.

    "It is what it is. That's the combination that we've got.

    "I felt that Shaun Treeby did very well against the 'Canes. Defensively he was solid and he created a lot of line speed there. He's played against these guys a lot of times before."

    The Blues also have far more stability at flyhalf, with Piers Francis improving all the time. 

    But that is a position where Fleck seems quietly confident ahead of the Leyds experiment. 

    "There are a number of players injured in that position and with Dillyn having covered it for most of the tour ... it makes sense for him slotting in there," the coach said.

    "Dillyn is a natural ball player and he's slotted in there perfectly for us. He's got a massive job to do there for us for the next two weeks.

    "It's probably the most continutiy we can have in that position."

    Fleck is expecting Coleman to bee fit ahead of next weekend's clash against the Sharks in Durban while Du Plessis is also nearing a return. 

    Kick-off on Friday is at 19:00.

    Teams:

    Stormers

    15 SP Marais, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Dillyn Leyds, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Siya Kolisi (captain), 6 Kobus van Dyk, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble

    Substitutes: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Brandon Thomson, 23 Damian de Allende

    Blues

    15 Melani Nanai, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 George Moala, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Ofa Tu'ungafasi

    Substitutes: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 Michael Collins


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