Stormers assistant coach Dawie Snyman says they plan to give Warrick Gelant a much-anticipated start in Saturday’s Vodacom United Rugby Championship derby against the Sharks in Cape Town.
Gelant has played off the bench in both of the Stormers’ URC games this year against the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld and the Sharks at Kings Park.
Stormers head coach John Dobson has previously explained that this has been done to manage Gelant’s workload as he has suffered long-term injuries in both of his knees recently. Gelant has also been linked with a move away from the Cape, with French and English clubs reportedly interested.
Still, the 26-year-old Springbok made a positive contribution in each game, playing a role in the winning try that helped the Stormers claim a rare victory in Pretoria, and then secure a last-gasp draw in Durban.
With each positive contribution, the calls have grown louder to bring Gelant back into the starting lineup and play him alongside Damian Willemse, who has worn the No 15 jersey in both games.
“It’s been quite a good debate,” Snyman said. “Warrick’s contribution off the bench for us in both games was spot on. In a way, we got that right. You also have to credit Warrick. It’s not easy for him to be on the bench. He is a world-class player and what he did in both those games was phenomenal. It might be a little bit different this weekend.
“Those two players fit each other when they are together on the field. It’s nice for us as a team to understand how we are going to do it on a week-to-week basis. Dobbo said Gelant is going to start this weekend, which is definitely the plan. We will decide this afternoon how we will fit Damian into the team and make sure we get it right.
“If you have guys that can create and those two around you, it means more opportunities for guys like [wing] Seabelo [Senatla]. Having both of those guys on the field is great, but also if one of them has to come off the bench and make an impact like Warrick has made, that’s also where we benefit as a team.”
Snyman added that Willemse is unfairly typecast as just a flashy player, when in actual fact he offers far more to the Stormers set-up.
“People see Damian Willemse and they see the try he scored in the Currie Cup against the Bulls [in 2017] and they just want to see that. Actually, when you look at it closely, the way he organises the backfield, his work rate off the ball, the way he tackles and counter- rucks,” Snyman explained.
“There are a lot of things that he is all about that some people may not always see. He has matured a lot and the time with the Springboks helped his game. His contribution on and off the field is world class.”
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