Pieter-Steph 'desperate' to get Bok jersey back

    2017-07-03 11:21

    Cape Town - Cheslin Kolbe stole headlines for the Stormers against the Cheetahs on Saturday by scoring a hat-trick of tries and bagging 23 points in his side's 40-34 win, but there were a couple of other performances that also stood out for the visitors. 

    One of those was from Springbok lock Pieter-Steph du Toit, who put in a massive shift despite receiving a yellow card in the 54th minute. 

    Du Toit started on the bench in all three of the June Tests against France with Springbok coach Allister Coetzee backing Lions second rower Franco Mostert instead. 

    It was a big call from Coetzee, with Du Toit and Stormers team-mate Eben Etzebeth having been considered one of the most potent lock pairings in world rugby. 

    Mostert, though, was very impressive for the Boks and looks to have moved ahead of Du Toit in the pecking order. 

    But, according to Stormers coach Robbie Fleck, the 24-year-old wants to earn his Bok No 5 jersey back.

    "You can't doubt Pieter-Steph's commitment to the cause," Fleck said after the Cheetahs win.

    "He has an unbelievable work ethic and work rate around the park. He just wants to be everywhere.

    "It's exciting to see a Bok like that come back into the mix and play so hard. He's obviously desperate to get back into the Springbok set-up, but first and foremost he's got to perform a job for us. He did exceptionally well today."

    Another player that shone for the Stormers was 19-year-old flyhalf Damian Willemse.

    With Jean-Luc du Plessis, Robert du Preez and Kurt Coleman all out injured, Fleck turned to the SA U-20 product against the Cheetahs.

    Willemse played at No 12 for the Junior Boks in their recently completed U-20 World Championship campaign in Georgia, but Fleck says that the Stormers see him as a flyhalf.

    "We see him as a 10 ... that's been his natural position. He played a bit of centre for the SA U-20s but he's always been a 10 for us," said Fleck.

    "A young kid with a lot of talent. There was some brilliant touches from him today ... still one or two mistakes, but that is to be expected from a 19-year-old.

    "For him to perform at this level, away from home, was a big ask and he certainly stepped up. We're happy with him."

    The Stormers, who have already qualified for the Super Rugby quarter-finals, host the Sunwolves on Saturday before traveling to Pretoria to take on the Bulls in the final round of group stage fixtures. 

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