Renewed depth for Stormers
Cape Town - In just a couple of weeks the Stormers have gone from not knowing who to play at wing to not knowing who to leave out.
The sudden availability of Sevens ace Seabelo Senatla, the imminent returns of Jaco Taute (knee) and Kobus van Wyk (patella) as well as the form of Dillyn Leyds have left the Stormers with a good problem to have as the playoffs approach.
There is suddenly competition for places in an area where the Capetonians have perhaps been a bit thin in the second half of the campaign, and backline coach Robbie Fleck says the players have responded well to the challenge.
"The introduction of Seabelo so quickly into the system immediately put pressure on other players and on the squad in terms of selection," said Fleck.
"There hasn’t really been huge competition in terms of outside backs, we’ve been pretty thin in terms of our depth and we’ve had to utilise the young kids that have come through the system and they’ve done a phenomenal job.
“We’re getting some experience and some quality players back, and they’re desperate to make the team. The Kobus van Wyk’s, the Jaco Taute’s … these guys want to be back into the system, they want to be playing Super Rugby.
"And immediately it increases the pressure on the current incumbent and they’ve got to work harder and perform better ... we spoke to the players and they all embraced it. We’ve got a great culture here.”
Another area where coach Allister Coetzee currently has a selection headache is at scrumhalf.
Coetzee has alternated between Nic Groom and Louis Schreuder, but up until last weekend it appeared that Groom had edged ahead in the race.
But Schreuder's performance in Saturday's win over the Rebels was impressive, and there are questions once more over who the better option is in the big games.
"Louis had a very good game. Every time he has come on this season he has made a difference. A lot of people criticise him for maybe kicking too much but I felt on the weekend that he kicked exceptionally well and put the Rebels under huge pressure,"said Fleck.
"We knew that we were up against a good side on the weekend and the conditions were quite testing, and he did an exceptional job."
Fleck added that the work done on building attacks from the base of a dominant scrum was starting to pay off, as was highlighted by Leyds's second try after Vermeulen had picked up from the back of another big Stormers shove.
"Duane did an exceptional job; he picked it to the blind and obviously found his pass perfectly to Louis and it was a good try. It was good to see and, as I said, it was something that we had to work on and get right."
The Stormers take on the Cheetahs at Newlands on Saturday in a 17:05 kick-off. Their team will be announced on Thursday.