Jean-Luc growing with every game
Cape Town - After having survived a mini-scare in the second half of their 40-22 win over the Reds in Cape Town last weekend, the Stormers can expect to be tested even more when they host the Waratahs on Saturday.
The win over the Reds was comfortable in the end, but the Stormers were on the ropes 10 minutes into the second half as two quick-fire Reds tries saw the visitors take the lead.
And then, on 55 minutes, Stormers fans had even more cause for concern when flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis was floored by a late tackle.
The 21-year-old left the field soon afterwards, and Stormers supporters would have been stressing over the prospect of losing another flyhalf to injury.
Robert du Preez and Kurt Coleman have already fallen, meaning that Du Plessis has been thrown into the deep end.
The good news is that the Stormers playmaker is fit and ready to take on the Waratahs, but perhaps even better news is that he is growing in confidence with each match.
"I feel like every week I’m getting a bit more comfortable," Du Plessis said.
"I’m getting a bit more used to the speed of the game and the intensity of the
game. I feel confident but it’s credit to the coaching staff.
instill a lot of confidence in us whether we have 50 caps or 5 caps."
Du Plessis says he is thriving on the Stormers' willingness to play an expansive brand of rugby, but he is wise enough to know that throwing the ball around may not always be possible.
"I enjoy the running game … exciting the crowd and getting
bums on seats," he said.
"But there’s a time and a place for everything on the field.
There will be times when we have to slow it down and control the game and there
will be times when you can express yourself."
What would have been comforting to the Newlands faithful after the Reds game is how well Brandon Thomson, on Super Rugby debut, performed when he replaced Du Plessis.
Thomson, also just 21, slotted three pressure penalties and a conversion to finish with 11 points from the bench.
"We were under pressure at that stage. It was a close game
and he certainly delivered," coach Robbie Fleck said of Thomson.
"It justifies the selection early on in the week and
it’s pleasing to see that another young kid can come and play at this level.
gives us a little more comfort knowing that we have two good flyhalves in the
The Stormers will name their team for the Waratahs clash on Thursday, with Du Plessis expected to start in the No 10 jersey once more with Thomson as his cover.