Willemse ticked the right boxes for Feeney
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Stormers assistant coach Paul Feeney was pleased with Damian Willemse's performance in his Super Rugby run-on debut in Bloemfontein in Round 15.
Willemse scored a try and made some good decisions out wide in his side's 40-34 win against the Cheetahs at the Free State Stadium and with Jean-Luc du Plessis and Robert du Preez out injured, the Junior Bok star looks set to keep the No.10 jersey heading into the play-offs.
"It’s great he got a try, it was a good little gap he spotted and he stayed in support on the inside," said Feeney.
"I think he kicked very well for the sideline - three or four times off penalties his kicking for the sideline carved off at least 40 metres, some of them with not great angles.
"Our last try from the line-out when we were down 33-34, he put that ball within 10 metres of the tryline from halfway."
Feeney acknowledged that Willemse did make a few mistakes in the game, but that was to be expected from a player still finding his feet at senior level.
"He made a few mistakes and I expected him to make a few mistakes. It is more so the learnings with Damian now.
"He has been given the opportunity and he would have been very nervous last Saturday. I am expecting him to play better again this week.
"But it is all about the video analyses, the leanings, how he is making his decisions and where he is looking at his age. As we all know it is all about experience.
"Every minute he gets at this level the better he is going to get over the next wee while. As a coaching group, we were very pleased with his [run-on] debut," Feeney added.
Meanwhile, fullback Sarel Marais is doubtful for this weekend's clash against the Sunwolves.
"He is not looking that good for this week at this stage, but he should be fine for the Bulls game," said Feeney. "We are pleased that it is not a long-term injury that puts him out for the rest of the season."
The Stormers have lost centres Juan de Jongh [concussion] and Shaun Treeby [rib] to injury. Treeby is expected to be out of action for two weeks.
Centre Huw Jones could return to action against the Bulls next week.
By Warren Fortune