Cape Town - Brandon Thomson is in line to make his Super Rugby debut when the Stormers take on the Reds at Newlands on Saturday.
The 21-year-old has been named on the bench for the clash behind now-regular No 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis in a move that sees the Stormers move away from using fullback Cheslin Kolbe as the flyhalf cover.
Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said on Thursday that it was a decision he had thought long and hard about, but in the end "common sense" prevailed as the Africa 1 conference leaders look to continue on their march to the play-offs.
Fleck confirmed that he had toyed with the idea of bringing in Dan du Plessis as extra centre cover, but Thomson had shown enough to suggest that he was ready to step into the big time.
"Thommo has been part of the system for pretty much this whole year
and he’s been a part of the warm-up games," Fleck said.
"He played well for WP against the
Bulls (in the Currie Cup qualifiers) the other day and certainly does bring a bit more of a balance to the
"He brings in another specialist goal-kicker … we’ve got those options and
common sense probably prevailed in selecting Thommo on the bench."
Fleck said that Thomson provided a different set of skills to what the Stormers were currently getting from Du Plessis.
"Thommo is a solid player. He’s got good distance on his
boot and he’s a good kicker for poles. He communicates well as well and is a
good distributor," said Fleck.
"I’d say that probably JL (Du Plessis) is a little bit more x-factor when
Thommo is a bit more controlled."
Du Plessis will start his third straight match after replacing the injured Kurt Coleman, and Fleck has been pleased with what he has seen so far.
"He’s raw. There is certainly talent and skill there," he said.
really enjoying the way he controls the game for us.
"He’s brave and he works
incredibly hard. I’m enjoying his communication skills. He’s a work in
Kick-off on Saturday is at 15:00.
15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Rynhardt Elstadt, 3 Frans Malherbe (captain), 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble
Substitutes: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Huw Jones, 23 Brandon Thomson
15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Anthony Fainga'a, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Curtis Browning, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ben Matwijow, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 James Slipper (captain)
Substitutes: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Sef Fa'agase, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Cadeyrn Neville, 20 Michael Gunn, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Duncan Paia’aua, 23 Ayumu Goromaru