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    What will Stormers do at flyhalf?

    2017-05-09 10:42

    Lloyd Burnard - Sport24

    Cape Town - Whatever happens between now and the end of the Super Rugby regular season, the Stormers are almost certain to finish top of Africa Conference 1 and host a quarter-final. 

    Granted, that's not a mathematical certainty, but given how poor the Bulls and Cheetahs have been below them, it almost impossible to picture a scenario where the Stormers don't secure top spot in the Conference. 

    They are currently on 26 log points, 12 ahead of the Bulls, who do have a game in hand, and 15 points ahead of the Cheetahs. 

    The Stormers have also finally completed their trip to New Zealand - a tour that gave them nothing in the way of log points and one that would have been a major dent to what they believe they can realistically achieve in 2017. 

    Six straight victories have been followed by four straight defeats, but the run-in is far less daunting for the Stormers. 

    After a bye this weekend, their fixtures read: Blues (h), Sharks (a), Cheetahs (a), Sunwolves (h), Bulls (a). If this was not the worst Bulls team in recent memory, then the Conference would be far from decided given how shaky the Stormers looked on tour. 

    The Stormers now have a welcomed week off, but when they return to action against the Blues on May 19 they will have some key decisions to make in terms of the flyhalf position, in particular. 

    Coach Robbie Fleck has somewhat of a crisis on his hands in that position with Robert du Preez (pectoral muscle), Kurt Coleman (ankle) and Jean-Luc du Plessis (groin) all out injured. 

    Dillyn Leyds, who has long expressed his desire to be a No 10, had to play there for the last 50 minutes of the 41-22 loss to the Hurricanes in Wellington last Friday and is certainly an option. 

    Another option could have been 19-year-old Damian Willemse, but he has just been named in Chean Roux's squad for the Under-20 World Rugby Championship and is unavailable. 

    Current Stormers scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage also has extremely limited experience at No 10, but if Fleck was thinking of going in that direction then he may have moved Duvenage to flyhalf against the 'Canes. 

    Brandon Thomson, meanwhile, has been playing for Western Province in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge and his goal-kicking has been impressive. 

    Fleck has a history of backing youngsters within the system, and for that reason turning to Thomson is certainly something you could see happening. 

    When Du Plessis went down injured mid-March, the initial prognosis was that he faced around six weeks on the sidelines. 

    But the Stormers confirmed to Sport24 on Tuesday that he was being assessed on a week-to-week basis and that he was still not training with the side. 

    So, it seems that Fleck has two options at the moment: Leyds or Thomson. 

    Whichever way he goes, the Stormers will be going into this next period of their Super Rugby campaign without an experienced Super Rugby flyhalf. 

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    Saturday, 17 February 2018
    • Stormers v Jaguares, Cape Town 15:05
    • Lions v Sharks, Emirates Airlines Park 17:15
    Friday, 23 February 2018
    • Highlanders v Blues, 08:35
    • Rebels v Reds, AAMI Park 10:45
    Saturday, 24 February 2018
    • Sunwolves v Brumbies, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium 06:15
    • Crusaders v Chiefs, 08:35
    • Waratahs v Stormers, Allianz Stadium 10:45
    • Lions v Jaguares, Emirates Airlines Park 15:05
    • Bulls v Hurricanes, Loftus Versfeld 17:15

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