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Stormers face flyhalf dilemma

Updated: 11:45 14-05-2018

The Stormers left South Africa on Sunday, destined for Tokyo, without the services of their first-choice flyhalf.

Damian Willemse has left to join up with the South African Under-20 team ahead of the Junior World Championship.

Willemse is the only key player that is absent from the 23-man matchday squad that lost 9-15 to the Chiefs at Newlands at the weekend.

Stormers coach Robbie Fleck has an experienced squad for the one-match tour, which will see them take on the Sunwolves at the Mong Kok Stadium on Saturday.

With Willemse out, the Stormers will have to rely on stand-in No.10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, who only recently returned from a lengthy injury-enforced lay-off.

Fleck said it is important to get stand-in flyhalf, Du Plessis, "up to speed'.

I felt JL [Du Plessis] did very well [coming off the bench in the last few weeks]","Fleck said.

"He brought a bit of spice, as he always does," the coach added.

Dillyn Leyds will cover flyhalf.

In the wake of the loss to the Chiefs, the Stormers are now required to win all their remaining matches.

Three South African conference sides are sitting on 24 points, seven behind leaders the Lions, who are one game in front.

The Stormers' loss to the Chiefs has made life very difficult for them in the remainder of the season.

The Bulls proved the biggest beneficiaries of a round in which they were the only South African side to win.

They beat the Sharks 39-33 in Pretoria to be ninth and 10th respectively while ahead of them are the Jaguares who had the bye at the weekend.

As things stand the Jaguares would be the second side from the Conference to make the playoffs.

The Bulls travel to Argentina to play the Jaguares next weekend while the Sharks are host to the Chiefs – both are key games for each of the sides concerned.

The Lions return home from New Zealand to host the Brumbies.

Fleck said that his squad is excited to be the first group to represent the Stormers in Hong Kong.

"This is another first for the Stormers and something that all of the players and management are really looking forward to.

"Our matches against the Sunwolves in Singapore have been tough encounters, so we know that we are in for a real test once again," he said.

Fleck refused to throw in the towel on his side's play-off ambitions despite losing their seventh match of the campaign.

"We have four games left and we're still in it‚" Fleck said.

"It's a funny competition this year. No one is guaranteed anything yet and you have to fight for every point. This conference is going down to the wire.

"For us every game is a must-win and we have to approach it in that way. We aren't thinking about the Lions yet because we get on the plane on Sunday to prepare to beat the Sunwolves.

"There is a lot of rugby to be played with New Zealand teams having to play each other‚ so a lot can still change.

"We will take our best team to Hong Kong because every game is a quarterfinal and there will be no other mindset but trying to win every game."

Stormers touring squad: Nizaam Carr, Damian de Allende, Jan de Klerk, Paul de Wet, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Dewaldt Duvenage, Johannes Engelbrecht, Jacobus Janse van Rensburg, Steven Kitshoff, Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), Dillyn Leyds, Wilco Louw, Frans Malherbe, Sarel Marais, Siyabonga Ntubeni, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Raymond Rhule, Carlu Sadie, Ramone Samuels, Seabelo Senatla, Kobus van Dyk, Chris van Zyl, EW Viljoen, Cobus Wiese.

Source: Rugby365 Published: 17:30 13-05-2018

Posted by on May 13, 2018.

Categories: Rugby

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Updated: 22:41 25-May-2018

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