Town - 2018 has the potential to be a big year for Dillyn Leyds.
Highly-rated for his attacking
flair and skill with ball in hand, the 25-year-old had a breakthrough season in
2017 when a string of impressive Super Rugby performances saw him push his way
into the Springbok side for a debut against France at Loftus in June.
Leyds would go on to play nine
Tests for the Boks last year, with all of his six starts coming on the
On Saturday, though, he will
start at fullback for the Stormers when they take on the Jaguares at Newlands
in this year's Super Rugby opener.
The uncertainty surrounding
Leyds's best position has worked both for and against him.
There is a passionate base of
supporters who are convinced that Leyds possesses the ability to be a natural
playmaking flyhalf, while Western Province coach John Dobson is on record as
saying that Leyds is best suited to No 15.
Allister Coetzee, meanwhile,
played him as a wing in Bok colours throughout last year.
Fleck, for now, seems to agree
with Dobson though the decision for this weekend was made easier by the fact
that SP Marais is still struggling with a toe injury.
Leyds' versatility makes him an
attractive impact player off the bench, but it also means that he might have
more struggles than others in securing a regular starting spot in a specialised
position the Springbok XV this year.
One thing that may be lingering
in the back of his mind is the fact the Boks, in all likelihood, will be
looking for a new fullback in 2018.
Andries Coetzee was given that
responsibility throughout 2017, but he struggled to make a real impact and
would do well to hold onto his place under new Director of Rugby Rassie
Leyds will know that, if he hits
the ground running this season, he will do his Bok credentials no harm.
For now, though, the focus is
Super Rugby and the Stormers and Fleck believes that Leyds is a crucially important
had a massive season both for the Stormers and South Africa," Fleck said.
"To have that calmness at
the back and the way that he has been going lately, it gives us a lot of
"He is a leader in the group
and he is going to be a big decision maker in terms of what we get up to on the
weekend. Hopefully he can control things nicely at the back."
On the wings, meanwhile, the
Stormers have backed Seabelo Senatla and debutant Raymond Rhule.
Kick-off on Saturday is at 15:05.
15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Substitutes: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Kobus van Dyk, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 George Whitehead, 23 JJ Engelbrecht.
15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertanou, 8 Tomas Lezana, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Felipe Arregui
16 Julian Montoya, 17 Javier Diaz, 18 Juan Pablo Zeiss, 19 Guido Petti, 20
Marcos Kremer, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Juan Martin Hernandez, 23 Bautista Delguy