Super Rugby

Stormers need Du Preez to fire

Robert du Preez (Gallo)
Robert du Preez (Gallo)

Cape Town - Robert du Preez was somewhat of a mixed bag against the Bulls last weekend. 

He scored a try and 23 of his side's 33 points on the day, but there were concerns over his tactical kicking in the first half. 

If he didn't know the attention that comes with wearing the No 10 jersey in Cape Town before, he certainly does now. 

When Demetri Catrakilis left the Stormers at the end of last season, there were many who thought that the franchise would go into the transfer market and purchase a flyhalf of proven quality who could accommodate the shift in philosophy to a more expansive brand of rugby. 

Instead, the Stormers have backed their own development structures and put their faith in Du Preez. 

The jury is still out on whether or not he is the playmaker who can take the team to new heights in Super Rugby 2016, but he did emerge from the Bulls match with an enhanced reputation. 

Coach Robbie Fleck has been understandably keen to keep the attention of Du Preez, but he did acknowledge that the tactical kicking against the Bulls was a concern. 

"Our tactical kicking probably needed a bit of improvement from that first half performance … it’s a work in progress for us," he said.

Still, Du Preez's goal-kicking was impressive.

"If you look at World Cup stats or any competition stats your goal kicker needs to be hitting 90%-plus and that’s what Robert did last week," said Fleck.

"That obviously gives us a lot of comfort going up there … it’s going to be a titanic battle and it’s important to slot your goals and kick our penalties.

"He’ll take a huge amount of confidence from his first game … it was a huge step up for him."

Despite their dominance against the Bulls, Fleck has identified other areas where he is seeking improvement against the Cheetahs.

"We probably should have put the Bulls under a bit more pressure with ball in hand in that first half," he said.

"We needed a bit more patience on attack … we tried to force it a bit and that’s something that we’ve spoken about."

Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:10.

Teams:

Cheetahs

15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 William Small-Smith, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Maks van Dyk, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais

Substitutes: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Luan de Bruin, 19 Francois Uys, 20 Boom Prinsloo, 21 Henco Venter, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Niel Marais 

Stormers

15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (co-captain), 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble.

Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Frans Malherbe (co-captain), 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones

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