Pietersen could help at No 10

2012-04-17 11:19

Cape Town – A silver lining for them is no lack of options for Allister Coetzee and company as they wrestle the nasty little curveball of potentially losing the Stormers’ acting captain and highly experienced inside centre Jean de Villiers for several weeks.

The big challenge will be ensuring they employ the right brew from the array of alternatives -- albeit with few that can confidently be called “ideal”, given the significant blow of surrendering in-form veteran Springbok De Villiers. 

If they do not want to shuffle the cards too much, the reasonably simple specialist swap involves promoting fringe midfielder JP du Plessis, who only turns 21 on April 29 but is already a reasonably well-travelled customer in both league and union terms and seems the logical, direct next in line.

But apart from very minor exposure with the Melbourne Rebels last year, he is very much a rookie in Super Rugby so that factor will doubtless weigh on the brains trust’s minds: do they feel confident enough to actually start him alongside Juan de Jongh?

In the immediate aftermath of the rather sudden De Villiers jolt, speculation has also surrounded a possible return to the midfield of Bryan Habana from his infinitely more customary post on the left wing.

But the former IRB player of the year has been in such refreshingly rejuvenated form there of late that perhaps he is best left to his strongest suit right now after bravely battling his way out of a strangely sub-standard phase of his career.

Less discussed has been another possibility: how about Joe Pietersen, who has been in positively electric, broad footballing form on the Australasian tour so far, being engaged much closer to the action at No 10, with Peter Grant thus handed the No 12 shirt and partnering De Jongh in midfield?

Pietersen has operated at flyhalf before with some success at first-class level for Western Province, and would help ensure that an important, string-pulling backline “spine” from scrumhalf to outside centre would retain a strong, comforting semblance of street wisdom: Dewaldt Duvenage, Pietersen, Grant and De Jongh in that order.

Grant, not for nothing nicknamed Bash, certainly has the tactical nous and defensive relish to do justice to the slot De Villiers vacates, and whilst Pietersen’s nippiness and diminutive status is obviously better suited to operating from the back, he is no shrinking violet as a tackler and gets increasingly decent range on his line kicks – good assets for a No 10.

Just as satisfying under the circumstances would be the Stormers’ ability – assuming that he is fully fit again to face the Reds in Brisbane on Friday after a relatively minor injury – to simply slot Gio Aplon into the fullback role to fill the Pietersen void there.

It is arguably the position where his sometimes dazzling attacking and counter-attacking footwork is best allowed to flourish, and just maybe his return there from a wing berth -- either in the very short-term or for a bit longer than that – could give the Stormers the try-scoring X-factor some critics believe they slightly lack at present.

Certainly I believe the Stormers would not be let down, under present circumstances, with a backline looking like this: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Peter Grant, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage.

Given that it should cause relatively little disruption to the team’s lauded defensive structure, among other things, might it be food for thought?

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing


  • Wimpie - 2012-04-17 11:22

    tyd om julle diepte te wys !!

      Tokolos - 2012-04-17 14:15

      Sor Isak... Ek dink Reds by 15

      Papa-storm - 2012-04-19 11:44

      tokolosh ek gaan jou vangalanalang wat lyk jy dan so bangalangalang stormers met 10 punte plus bonus punt groete

  • Johan - 2012-04-17 11:27

    Kan hy nie slot ook speel nie?

      Stirrer - 2012-04-17 11:34

      Hy is so goed, dit sal my glad nie verbaas nie :D

      Japjapjap - 2012-04-17 11:39

      ja hy kan slot speel! hulle moet nou net 'n ketting kry, dan sluit ons daai weepee stadion toe!!

      Stirrer - 2012-04-17 12:39

      @Japjap - horingou grappie, en dis destyds oor Loftus gesê. Het jy dalk enigiets oorspronklik? Jy raak nou vinnig boring.

  • my10cent - 2012-04-17 11:27

    Joe Pietersen = Naas Botha. All they are good at, is kicking the damn ball - boring!!!

      Stirrer - 2012-04-17 11:33

      Do you know anything about rugby? Anything at all? Come now, don't be shy, admit it...

      Terence - 2012-04-17 11:49

      Little Joe isn't worthy of having his name mentioned in the same breath as the king.

      Deon - 2012-04-17 11:50

      No, he would be a running flyhalf. Duvenhage is also another option at 10, he played very well last year.

      Massey - 2012-04-17 11:53

      Please keep your 10cent to yourself.

      Riaan - 2012-04-17 12:12

      Must be 10 Zim cents

      Stormkaap - 2012-04-17 12:55

      Terence.. at least Little Joe Can tackle and Naas couldnt..

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-04-17 13:10

      @my10cent. I can see your comment is only worth 10c. Even not being there supporter I would still like to make my R 1 comment. Joe is currently playing good. Even on attacking and you must not only judge him on the last game. Specially when you most probably only watch part of the game.

      Lance - 2012-04-17 13:39

      Joe Pietersen would seize up a pedometer if they had to figure out how many kilometres he covers on the field in an average match. He can tackle, side-step, kick and never slows down. Get used to Joe, hes your next Bok 15..

      Tokolos - 2012-04-17 13:45

      Ou 10 chilling.... Daar sal nooit ooit weer in rugby se geskiedenis tot aan die einde van tyd weer 'n Naas Botha wees nie. There can only be one!!!

      stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-04-17 14:06

      Naas did the kicking and played the strategic game. My opinion is that he was instructed not to tackle, where at all possible, to prevent injuries.

      Terence - 2012-04-17 14:17

      Stormkaap, like he tackled Francois Hougaard in the 2010 final?

      Stormkaap - 2012-04-17 17:44

      Terence at least he attempted to tackle and got beat by a good side step, but how about Read running past Ms Piggy and that poor attempt at a tackle... what you should be saying is..''Frans bring the tackle bags..." Oh by the way

      joneethling - 2012-04-17 17:49

      Naas "Tackle Machine" Botha.

  • Japjapjap - 2012-04-17 11:37

    ..wat van brok en bekker?? hulle kan ook uithelp op 10...

      Terence - 2012-04-17 11:50

      No, don't be stupid.They are specialist centers.

      Saffa - 2012-04-17 11:58

      Not sure about specialist centres...but they are certainly becoming experts at beating the Bulls........

      Saffa - 2012-04-17 12:46

      By 3 points or 300 - the column says WON......

      Lionel - 2012-04-17 12:52

      Raven,now that we are ONCE again on about Bulls/Stormers,whats up with Morne Steyn's kicking,surely there is concern in the Bulls camp and to an extent the Bok camp!!!

      1amAlan - 2012-04-17 13:41

      The way the Bulls are playing they don't need to rely on his boot.

      stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-04-17 14:08

      If they play less at center, maybe the wingers will get to see more of the ball.

  • colin85 - 2012-04-17 11:43

    Im worried about the right flank... You have Hurdles defending in 14 and then Gio (who does box above his weight) backing him up. Might be better to bring Gio in for Hurdles, and start JP Du Plessis at 12?

      Saffa - 2012-04-17 12:00

      @Colin - I would hate for them to tinker with all these combos too much. It will disrupt the defensive system big time (and at this stage...that's our strong point). Juan de Jongh happily plays 12 (and defensively he is solid solid soiid in this channel, as proven in 2010) JP Dup can get a start at 13 - why not I say. The benck provides a FEW options should things need to be tweaked a little.

      Lionel - 2012-04-17 12:43

      @Raven,Tiaan will more than likely captain the team!!!

      Lionel - 2012-04-17 13:01

      Relax,not going to bite your neck off,just yet:):) If I had my way I would give Vermeulen a go,the man plays his heart out and gives his all,not saying that Tiaan does not but Vermeulen is something else. As for Habana,I don't know,hey,never seen him as a leader!!!As an outsider,who would you choose???

      Stirrer - 2012-04-17 13:02

      Raven, the Stormers will use a blow-up doll to captain the team, just like the Bulls have been doing with some success since the beginning of the season.

      Ren%c3%a9 - 2012-04-17 13:18

      @Raven, Habana and de Jongh are the 'dancing queens', they not leaders!

      Tokolos - 2012-04-17 13:35

      Stirrer. You are really stupid.

      Stirrer - 2012-04-17 13:37

      @Raven - LOL, looks like I hit a nerve there :D My job here is done...

      Bielie - 2012-04-17 22:53

      Japjapjap, jy's nie die skerpste drukspyker in die boksie nie, ne? In fact, jy's 'n drol.

  • stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-04-17 12:44

    Sure, he's good, but his line kicking last Saturday was not that great. I'd rather play him on the wing in v/d Heever's place. Grant should be left at flyhalf. I sure hope the Stormers are also looking at their problem of conceding so many penalties in their own half - time to read the rule book again.

  • Stormkaap - 2012-04-17 12:53

    WHAT RUBBISH.. what does this say to the other flyhalves.. They have a specialist half in Francis.. WTF!!!!!!!!!!1

      Bootman - 2012-04-17 14:01

      This makes one wonder what Burton Francis is doing on the bench. As soon as they need a flyhalf they look at Joe Petersen and Dewalt Duvenhage. AC needs to open his eyes. When Francis came on against the Saders, he brilliantly put Juan De Jongh into a gap. Had De Jongh held on to the pass, it would have been a try for all money. They have the players to pull of a win, they just dont have the coaching staff to do it.

      Jason - 2012-04-17 16:21

      Obviously you guys typed this earlier before the announcement that Grant stays Flyhalf and habana moves to 13.

  • Frank - 2012-04-17 13:07

    I think the Stormers are going to start struggling now. Too many injuries! Peterson at flyhalf? Has he ever played at flyhalf?

      Lance - 2012-04-17 13:44

      I think he did once off the bench..but my honest opinon is that I could see him as a great 9 if he was needed(or wanted to play there)

      Neutedop - 2012-04-17 14:10

      He played a season there for WP - before heading overseas. But still, it seems like a longterm injury to Jean, so the fix must be for a longer time than just the tour - so give the centre you picked to travel, his fair chance.

  • aidan.w.naude - 2012-04-17 13:25

    so many Zandberg Jansens in our presence , seems you all should quit your jobs and go into coaching. Personally all this exposure to youngsters would be the best cause , we only get stronger in each department. No matter what happens we have shown the SA franchise how strong we really are and Ill support them till I die. WP jou lekker ding.

  • Andre - 2012-04-17 14:03

    my bokteam:15.Jaco Taute. 14.JP pietersen/mvovo 13.mossie 12.Francois Steyn 11.Habana. 10 Johan Goosen 9 Hougaard. 8.Pierre spies. 7.Potgieter 6,Brussouw 5/4 Etsebeth/van der merwe 3/1 many talent. 2. Bismarck.

      Michael - 2012-04-18 20:33

      Pierre Spies at 8 and Potgieter at 7.......what you smoking meneer......Vermeulen is your nanas!!!! Koster, Alberts and Kolisi are muuuuuuuuuuuch better!!!!!

  • claude.jacobs2 - 2012-04-18 12:47

    Nice team on attack only, number 14 & 15 in above mentioned team is suspect in defense.!4 not committing him self in tackle 15 to light although brilliant on attack.

  • Brevan - 2012-04-19 14:31

    This would be a waste. JP should just get his chance and if you wanted Grant to play 12, then use Francis at 10. Why complicate things. In not scoring is because our decision making is poor. We often pick the right pass, but the timing isn't always right. We either pass too early or we hang on too long. Brok Harris needs to stay out of the back line. If he immediately passes the ball, then it's fine, but he does the strangest things at times. Then there is the overlap... why do we run towards touch when we have an overlap? 3 on 4, if 3 must defend against 4 in a 10m space it's easier than 3 defending against 4 in a 20m space because then you need to cover 6m instead of 3m! Simple things I hope they sort out in the coming weeks.

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