Willemse to lead Stormers' line against Cheetahs
SA Under-20 star Damian Willemse will make his first start for the Stormers against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday while Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth and franchise skipper Siya Kolisi have been rested.
"We have always wanted to have a longer look at Damian and we have groomed him at other positions. We need to have a look at our flyhalf options in the next few weeks. “In modern rugby the 10 and 12 play a similar game.
"It’s about controlling the game and taking his opportunities. Damian works hard and if he makes some mistakes‚ that’s okay.
“It allows both he and us an opportunity as we go into the latter part of the competition.”
Tighthead Frans Malherbe will captain the side in the absence of Kolisi and Etzebeth‚ who are the Stormers’ official captain and vice-captain.
“Siya and Eben played every minute of every game for the Boks against France in June‚” Fleck said.
“Frans Malherbe‚ Dillyn Leyds and Bongi Mbonambi only played a few minutes for the Boks‚ so it made sense for us to pick them but rest Eben and Siya. “There was no directive from Bok coach Allister Coetzee to rest these players.
"On the contrary‚ he said he wants to see the players in action in the coming weeks‚ which is good positive pressure for them.”
Cheetahs coach Franco Smith has selected his strongest possible team for the match with lock Reniel Hugo returning after a long-term injury.
Bok centre Francois Venter will captain the team.
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies‚ 14 Sergeal Petersen‚ 13 Francois Venter (captain)‚ 12 Clinton Swart‚ 11 Raymond Rhule‚ 10 Niel Marais‚ 9 Tian Meyer‚ 8 Niell Jordaan‚ 7 Uzair Cassiem‚ 6 Henco Venter‚ 5 Daniel Hugo‚ 4 Armandt Koster‚ 3 Johan Coetzee‚ 2 Elandre Huggett‚ 1 Ox Nche.
Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba‚ 17 Charles Marais‚ 18 Tom Botha‚ 19 Justin Basson‚ 20 Teboho Mohoje‚ 21 Fred Zeilinga‚ 22 Ruan van Rensburg‚ 23 William Small-Smith.
Stormers: 15 SP Marais 14 Cheslin Kolbe 13 Juan de Jongh 12 Shaun Treeby 11 Dillyn Leyds 10 Damian Willemse 9 Jano Vermaak 8 Nizaam Carr 7 Kobus van Dyk 6 Rynhardt Elstadt 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit 4 Chris van Zyl 3 Frans Malherbe 2 Ramone Samuels 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Reserves: 16 Bongi Mbonambi 17 Steven Kitshoff 18 Wilco Louw 19 JD Schickerling 21 Justin Phillips 22 EW Viljoen 23 Seabelo Senatla.