Fleck backs Nizaam at openside

Robbie Fleck believes that the Stormers' back row boasts more balance now that Nizaam Carr has moved to openside flank. JON CARDINELLI reports.

Two years ago, Carr moved from No 8 to openside flank with outstanding results. After a strong 2014 Super Rugby season, Carr was selected for the Springboks’ tour to Europe.

After the tour, then coach Heyneke Meyer said that Carr showed aptitude as a Test flank. Nevertheless, Carr started at 6 on just four occasions in the 2015 Super Rugby tournament.

The 2016 season has witnessed a number of changes at the Stormers. Two games into the campaign, and new coach Robbie Fleck has opted to rejig the starting back row.

Carr will start at openside, Siya Kolisi at blindside, and Schalk Burger at 8 against the Sharks at Newlands on Saturday. Fleck was reluctant to say whether the changes were permanent or not. And yet, if the combination does well against the Sharks, it could well be retained for the next challenge against the trend-setting Brumbies.

‘Nizaam has been playing eight, but he has been playing to the ball. He made a steal against the Bulls, and two more against the Cheetahs,’ said Fleck. ‘’His defence was solid and he had a high ruck-count in Bloemfontein.

‘Sikhumbuzo Notshe has done well at No 6, but I believe this [selection] gives us a better balance in the back row. Siya Kolisi is coming back from injury but this will be a good opportunity for him. He gives us a good option as a ball carrier.’

In 2013, Meyer hoped to develop Kolisi into an openside flanker. However, the player has been used at No 6 and 7 over the ensuing years at both franchise and Test level.

At the start of the 2016 season, Fleck said that Kolisi would focus on the blindside flank position.

Photo: Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images

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