Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Jake White has identified the Stormers’ Damian Willemse as the flyhalf who can spearhead the Bok backline in the coming years.
White, who led the Boks to World Cup glory in 2007, expressed his opinion via a column for the All Out Rugby website.
He said the 19-year-old had impressed him in Super Rugby this year and called on Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus to pick the youngster.
“Damian Willemse is definitely the real deal. I had heard a lot about him from Johann Rupert, because his daughter Caroline is the one who found Damian and paid for him to go to Paul Roos, but it’s only now that I’m back in South Africa on holiday that I’ve been able to watch him in Super Rugby. He ticks all the boxes and what I like most is that he’s quick. I know people say that he’s brave on defence and he kicks nicely, but one thing that South Africa has lacked for a long time is a really quick No 10,” White wrote.
White insists Willemse’s age should not count against him, giving examples of former flyhalf greats to have played international rugby from a young age.
“Bok coach Rassie Erasmus will go to another two World Cups in the next six years and it’s a no-brainer - Willemse is the guy for the No 10 jersey. If we go with a flyhalf who is now 19, then we’ll be in a situation similar to what England had with Jonny Wilkinson, Australia had with Stephen Larkham and the All Blacks had with Dan Carter - the same 10 for a long time.”