Fleck punts Stormers youngster as future Bok

    2018-03-05 20:09

    Lloyd Burnard

    Cape Town - They may have shipped seven tries against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday, but the Stormers did show some signs of encouragement as they went down 45-28. 

    That scoreline might not inspire much hope on the surface, but when one considers that the Stormers found themselves 26-0 down inside the opening 20 minutes, it could have been a lot worse. 

    To their credit, the Capetonians kept plugging away and got better as the match progressed. 

    Their fitness levels are clearly up to standard, and for three quarters of the match the Stormers showed that they can hurt the best teams in the competition when they get it right. 

    Much of that had to do with 20-year-old Cobus Wiese

    Enjoying a breakthrough season in Super Rugby, Wiese was immense for the visitors on both defence and attack. 

    Wiese carried the ball 14 times against the Crusaders, beating four defenders in the process, while he made a staggering 15 tackles - more than anyone else in a Stormers jersey. 

    Surprisingly rested for the clash against the Waratahs the week before last, Wiese has now played himself firmly into Fleck's plans moving forward. 

    A clash against the Highlanders on Saturday awaits, and with JD Schickerling out with a torn bicep and Pieter-Steph du Toit fighting a head knock, Wiese may find himself in the second row. 

    That won't be too concerning for Fleck, who has been impressed by the youngster so far this year.

    "He was our man of the match. He was outstanding," Fleck said of Wiese's performance against the Crusaders.

    "For a 20-year-old to deliver a performance like that in New Zealand ... he was absolutely everywhere and he stuck his hand up as a potential Springbok going forward.

    "It was an outstanding performance physically, emotionally and just with his work rate around the park."

    While there is no doubt that Wiese has a bright future, his availability for this weekend is uncertain as he looks to recover from a shoulder injury that he picked up against the Crusaders.

    "He is hurting and he is a bit sore at the moment. He didn't train today so we haven't been able to decide on a team as yet because we have a few injuries," Fleck explained.

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