Fleck banks on Du Preez's experience

Thu, 21 Jul 2016 13:37

REACTION: Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck believes flyhalf Robert du Preez has the right temperament to help guide his team to victory against the Chiefs in their quarterfinal at Newlands on Saturday.

The match will be Du Preez's first bit of Super Rugby action since he injured his knee against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein in Round Two.

It has been a long road to recovery for the 22-year-old, but Fleck feels that Du Preez, instead of Brandon Thomson, is the right person to take over from the injured Jean-Luc du Plessis.

"It was a big selection for us in the sense that Rob [Robert du Preez] has been out for some time, but at the end of the day we went with experience," Fleck told reporters at Newlands on Thursday.

"He was the No.1 choice flyhalf at the beginning of the season and he played really well, especially in those games against the Bulls and the Cheetahs, but unfortunately he also got injured. 

"He also played for Dobbo [John Dobson] in the Currie Cup - he played in the [2015] semifinal and the Final and he just edged Thomson in terms of experience."

Fleck is confident that Du Preez is able to handle the rigours of Super Rugby again after getting some game time in the Currie Cup Qualifying tournament in the last few weeks.

"He [Du Preez] has played quite well for Province. He has had about three games, but unfortunately he missed out last week due to illness. 

"He is match fit - obviously he has not played Super Rugby for some time, but he has got a few minutes under his belt, which is great.

"He has been thrown into the deep end. It boils down to the experience he's had over the last couple of seasons for us, or more so with Western province. It is a big game. but I want to take all the pressure off our halfbacks, especially our No.10s. 

"They have been given the opportunity now and they have to deal with it. They are playing against a good side - against good halfbacks. We need our halfbacks to control the game and certainly we believe they can deliver the goods," Fleck added.

Meanwhile, Saturday's match will be Schalk Burger's last for the Stormers if they lose. It could also be his last match at Newlands as a player.

The Springbok and Stormers veteran will be joining Saracens at the conclusion of the current Super Rugby season.

"Newlands has been good to me over the years...I have been a favourite of theirs [fans] for some time," Burger told reporters.

"Hopefully there is still life in the old bones and I'm obviously keen to put up a great performance this weekend. 

"But it is not about me, it is about the journey we took so far this season. We have not done too well in play-offs, but the only one with baggage there is me. For most of them [teammates] it is all new."

By Warren Fortune

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Free State Cheetahs v Griquas 12h00 Bloemfontein
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Sun, 02 October 2016
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9