Fleck ‘excited’ by Sunwolves challenge

PUBLISHED: April 7, 2016

DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck is excited by the new combinations in the DHL Stormers team to face the Sunwolves at DHL Newlands on Friday.

DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck is excited by the new combinations in the DHL Stormers team to face the Sunwolves at DHL Newlands on Friday.

Injuries to Eben Etzebeth, Kurt Coleman and Nic Groom have forced more changes to the team that beat the Jaguares in Argentina than initially anticipated, handing starting opportunities to JD Schickerling, Jean-Luc du Plessis and Louis Schreuder respectively as a result.

Whilst disappointed to lose the services of Etzebeth (calf injury) for four to six weeks, Coleman (anterior cruciate ligament) for nine months and Groom (knee injury) for nine days, Fleck is confident that their replacements will make a significant impact in the historic first-ever Vodacom Super Rugby clash between the DHL Stormers and Sunwolves.

These injury-enforced changes come along with some rotational switches in the forward pack as well, with props Oli Kebble and Vincent Koch getting a chance to start along with Schalk Burger who will pack down at No.8, with Nizaam Carr on the replacements bench for the first time this season.

In addition to this Damian de Allende and Rynhardt Elstadt are set to make their returns from injury from the replacements bench.

Fleck said that he is looking forward to seeing the new combinations in action at DHL Newlands, as the DHL Stormers look to make it five wins from their first six games this season.

“Yes we have incurred some injuries, but for me that is quite an exciting team. Injuries happen in this game and what they do is create opportunities for other people.

“We are excited obviously about the fact that Damian and Rynhardt are back, and looking at this team we are quietly excited about it,” he said.

With both Coleman and Dillyn Leyds requiring knee surgery which has ruled them out for the rest of the season, the DHL Stormers backline resources are being stretched, but Fleck said that it is a challenge he has embraced.

“Those two injuries to Dillyn Leyds and Kurt Coleman are big, season-ending injuries and they were both considered as flyhalf covers for us, so certainly we need to dig deep in terms of our squad and make some clever plans now,” he said.

Having coached Du Plessis at Under-21 level last year, Fleck is keen to see how the talented young flyalf handles the pressures of Vodacom Super Rugby.

“This is an opportunity for a youngster to reeally stake a claim, this is a big opportunity for him, I feel that he has got a good rugby brain. He likes to organise things and he likes to take charge which is what you want in a flyhalf,” he said.

Du Plessis’ halfback partner Louis Schreuder will also be determined to make an impact having had limited opportunities this season.

“He [Schreuder] has been playing exceptionally well, every time he has come on off the bench. He is playing with a lot of freedom this year.

“From what I have seen in training Louis and Jean-Luc have created a good partnership and they have got a good understanding, there is something about this team that I am quite excited about,” he said.