Rainbow Cup

Stormers have selection headache at flyhalf ahead of Bulls clash

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Tim Swiel. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)
Tim Swiel. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)
  • The Stormers are weighing up their flyhalf options as they prepare to face the Bulls in Pretoria.
  • The Capetonians have to choose between Abner van Reenen, Tim Swiel or Damian Willemse at pivot.
  • Skills coach Labeeb Levy says "it's still a discussion point" as to who will wear the No 10 jersey at Loftus Versfeld.

The Stormers are pondering their options at flyhalf for Friday's PRO14 Rainbow Cup SA encounter against the Bulls in Pretoria.

Abner van Reenen has started at pivot in recent matches but has shown worrying signs of fallibility with his place-kicking - which could be a deciding factor in the top-of-the-table clash at Loftus Versfeld.

Tim Swiel, who came off the bench to kick late penalties in the Stormers' away wins over the Lions and Sharks, could prove the safe option for Friday's encounter.

Swiel has developed a knack of slotting pressure kicks, with his last-gasp winner against the Cheetahs in the Currie Cup also springing to mind.

Van Reenen has shown his potential in open play with a few deft touches, but he's still a work in progress at this level.

While addressing reporters on Tuesday, Stormers skills coach Labeeb Levy admitted that their choice of pivot for Friday's game was a head-scratcher, even hinting that fullback Damian Willemse could be tried there again.

Willemse played flyhalf during last year's Super Rugby Unlocked event but was eventually moved to fullback after indifferent performances at No 10.

"To be honest, we have been toying," Levy said when probed on who will wear the No 10 jersey against the Bulls.

"Abner's been running there, Damian's also got an opportunity because anything can happen in the game. You have to prepare because if something goes wrong with the 10 (flyhalf) you selected, then you need to adjust. We've spent time preparing for that option and opportunity. Damian is a 15 (fullback) but in the event of him needing to have a run there, we'll utilise him."

When pressed whether Swiel would get a run in the starting XV, Levy responded: "It's still a discussion point. Nothing's been finalised... they've all had a run, Abner's had a run, Damian a lot as well and obviously Tim Swiel's also had an opportunity in training. [But] the selection still has to take place before the team is announced."

READ | Stormers skills coach on Rosko Specman's arrival: 'He's fitted in like a glove'

Levy, meanwhile, added that he was confident the players would focus on the task at hand - and not let their minds drift to Saturday's Springbok squad announcement.

"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," Levy said.

The Stormers team to tackle the Bulls will be named on Thursday, with Friday's clash scheduled for 19:00.

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