Fleck gives youth another chance
Cape Town - Nobody can argue with the faith that Robbie Fleck has shown in youth development.
That was perhaps best highlighted by his approach to the flyhalf crisis that rocked the Stormers in the Super Rugby's opening weeks.
With Demetri Catrakilis off to France, Fleck said early on that he would not be looking outside of the province for more flyhalf cover, instead backing the depth that he believed already existed at Newlands.
When first-choice No 10 Robert du Preez went down injured in week two, Fleck remained adamant that there was enough flyhalf cover.
Then when they lost Kurt Coleman for the season, there were many who thought that an emergency signing would have to be ushered in from somewhere.
But Fleck has placed his faith - with varying amounts of success - in the inexperienced duo of Jean-Luc du Plessis and Brandon Thomson.
Recent results have not gone the Stormers' way, but with each passing week youngsters like Du Plessis and Thomson are growing.
That is one undeniable positive from the season so far, and this Saturday against the Cheetahs Fleck will give an opportunity to another promising young talent.
Daniel du Plessis - son of former Springbok centre Michael du Plessis and nephew of Springbok legend Carel du Plessis - is set for his Super Rugby debut.
He will start in the No 13 jersey, outside Damian de Allende and cousin Jean-Luc, and Fleck said on Thursday that he was "excited" to see what his latest addition could offer.
"Very excited … another young player that played for me last year in the U-21 setup and a serious talent," Fleck said of the 21-year-old.
"He was injured early on in the season and we were looking to give him an opportunity. He’s had some good form for the Currie Cup side of late and he’s been rewarded for that good form."
Fleck then gave an indication of what to expect from Du Plessis.
"He’s a good, hard player who runs good lines," the coach said.
"He’s strong in the tackle and in the carry. He’s an exciting player with a bit of x-factor.
"What I like about him is that he is similar to Damian (De Allende) … he wants the ball and wants to take control.
"He’s a quiet kid behind the scenes but he’s got a lot of determination. He’s a fighter and it’s a good opportunity for us to give him a run."
Du Plessis has been given his chance because of an injury to Huw Jones, who damaged a ligament in his toe.
With Jones out for four weeks, Fleck conceded that he had toyed with the idea of turning to the fit-again Jaco Taute for this weekend.
"There was (a consideration to play Taute), but he hasn’t played any games," said Fleck.
"He needs to play a game or two for the Currie Cup side before we can consider him.
"We want players who have been playing for some time and I’d also like to reward players who have been playing well."
Du Plessis will benefit from that philosophy