Warrick Gelant’s authoritative play is a much-needed boost for the Stormers and of real importance in a wider national context, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
Simply put, Gelant was a joy to watch in Kimberley on Saturday.
It was almost difficult to keep track of how many times the 25-year-old popped up to receive possession and dictate proceedings. His positional play and kicking out of his hand was also all class.
Detractors will say ‘It was only against Griquas’ or ‘This needs to be seen more consistently’, but that’s really besides the point.
Ultimately, it’s high time we started to celebrate the gifts of players such as Gelant, and provide full credit where it’s due.
I’ve had many conversations with Gelant where I’ve come away with the overwhelming feeling that this is a player who is fully aware of both his strengths and weaknesses, and who is resolute in his desire to become the complete fullback.
Reaching that point is a process, and often there is an impatience from the viewing public, who want to see world-class performances week in and week out.
Yet, what we saw from Gelant on Saturday is a player who has grown in confidence, and who is willing to put himself in positions to influence the game at every turn.
What was as pleasing as anything was his decision-making and support play, while his deft offloading repeatedly put his teammates into space.
Just look at these examples below:
It’s noticeable that Gelant also leads the competition for most carries (44), most defenders beaten (14) and most offloads (13).
It comes at a time when the Stormers will be looking to players with the experience of Gelant to continue driving them in the right direction in the local competition.
In a wider national context, fullback also remains a position where the Springboks will certainly want to continue building depth beyond Willie le Roux in this next four-year World Cup cycle.
With an injury to Sharks star Aphelele Fassi, Gelant is the man with the inside lane to establish himself as the leading locally-based fullback, and his performance this past Saturday was yet another example of just how multi-talented he is.