Super Rugby

Stormers won't drop Willemse over goal-kicking woes

Damian Willemse (Gallo Images)
Damian Willemse (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Stormers coach John Dobson has no intention of dropping flyhalf Damian Willemse despite the latter's goal-kicking struggles.

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Willemse missed several kicks at goal in the Stormers' opening two matches and it could come back to bite the Cape franchise in tighter clashes later in the season.

"We have to correct the goal-kicking or get someone else to kick. What we won't do is replace Damian," Dobson told Netwerk24.

Willemse missed three of his four kicks at goal during last Saturday's 13-0 win over the Bulls at Newlands, but the Stormers mentor was otherwise satisfied with his pivot's performance.

Dobson said Willemse has the most potential of any flyhalf in South African rugby.

"Our analysis of the match showed that he played well on Saturday. Damian's defence is brilliant and Jamie (Roberts, Stormers inside centre) says it's nice to know that the channel on his inside is secure.

"If Damian really has an off day with his kicking we can always bring on Jean-Luc du Plessis, as was the case this past weekend. Damian can then move to fullback, which is a good solution."

Meanwhile, legendary former Springbok flyhalf Naas Botha earlier this week analysed Willemse's kicking and said he was confident that a few tweaks could help him improve.

"He drops too low (when lining up). His hips are falling down, if you can say it like that... and as soon as the hips drop, then the foot can't come through properly. His upper body just needs to be a bit higher, which will allow his hips to come inward," Botha said on SuperSport's Afrikaans rugby programme SuperRugby on Monday night.

Botha added: "All that he needs to do is simple... just remain nice and upright. He's showed us in the past he can definitely kick, he's one of the kickers who can kick really far... on the highveld he can easily kick it over from 50-60m... he has that technique, but somewhere his (left) shoulder drops, with the hip bending which means his (kicking) leg sways to side and then he misses to the left..."

The Stormers travel to Johannesburg this weekend where they will tackle the Lions at Ellis Park.

Dobson will name his team later on Thursday, with Saturday's clash scheduled for 15:05.

- Compiled by Herman Mostert

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