Stormers centre Rikus Pretorius and skills coach Labeeb Levy both shared their excitement over Rosko Specman’s arrival at the Cape side. DYLAN JACK reports.
Specman experienced his first Stormers training session on Monday after joining the team on a short-term loan deal from the Cheetahs.
The deal was struck with the ultimate goal of getting Specman more game time under the belt as he continues his bid to make the Springboks’ 45-man squad for the British & Irish Lions series.
Speaking during a media conference on Tuesday, Levy said the speedster has been welcomed to their set-up and gelled seamlessly with the likes of Sergeal Petersen, Seabelo Senatla and Damian Willemse.
‘He has fitted in like a glove with our team,’ Levy said. ‘Especially with our outside backs. If you look at guys like Sergeal, Seabelo, Damian and Rosko, they are almost cut from the same cloth. They bring excitement in their natural play, but they are also gelling well with each other in terms of the team vibe.
‘It’s nice to see. I was watching Sergeal and Seabelo this morning sharing the team structures with him. He has fitted in well.’
Levy pinpointed Specman’s unpredictability on attack as something that could be a particular boost to the Stormers.
‘From a skills perspective, there are certain things you can’t coach in guys. If you are a defence coach, coming up with a plan to defend that type of player, building plans on what you think they are going to do … sometimes the player doesn’t even know what he is going to do, so how do you plan against that? So, it’s exciting and it’s good to see.’
Pretorius said that Specman arrived with the kind of energy that would have fooled one into believing that he had been a Western Province player born and bred.
‘When he arrived at training yesterday, the spirit that he brings, you would have thought that he was always a WP player, just with the vibe that he brought,’ the young centre explained.
‘He is a really good player. He gives you different options. I must say that his communication is very good. He will tell you exactly when he wants the ball or tell you exactly what to do.’
Specman is likely to make his Stormers debut in their crunch Rainbow Cup SA clash with his former side, the Bulls, in Pretoria on Friday.
The Stormers have the opportunity to draw level with the Bulls at the top of the table, should they end the home side’s proud unbeaten record at Loftus Versfeld.
While attentions may be diverted to the Springbok squad announcement on 5 June, Levy was confident the Stormers would not get distracted from the task at hand.
‘We are chatting to the players individually. But they are pretty self-motivated, knowing that they have to put in good performances and train well because the Springbok coaches will be looking into that to see who is on form.
‘It is in the back of their minds: that if they train well, they can be selected, but I don’t see that selfishness. They know they have to do well over the next two weeks to raise their hands.’
Photo: Michael Maytham/Stormers