Jean’s not a 12

Former Bok centre Brendan Venter is not convinced that Jean de Villiers should play inside centre for the Stormers in this year’s Vodacom Super 14.

Writing in his Cape Times column, Venter said the Stormers would be judged harshly on their decision to pick De Villiers at No 12 and play De Wet Barry at 13 if they don’t succeed.

“The coaches will argue that the playmaker De Villiers will be involved more this way, but I beg to differ,” he wrote. “Yes, Jean will be more involved from first phase, but that is the one area where defences are very well organised. Would it not make sense to have your best decision maker attack from broken field where the defences are not properly organised?”

Venter also questioned Peter Grant’s ability to make the step up to Vodacom Super 14 rugby.

“Not only is Grant a makeshift kicker, but as a flyhalf he is very young and inexperienced. He has great potential, but the question is whether he has what it takes to make the Stormers win this Super 14.

“Grant has a great feeling for the game, is a good defender and does a reasonable job as a distributor, but he is average as a kicking flyhalf. He struggles to clear his line and I have never seen him dominate with the boot to the point that he manages to get his pack going.

“On attack he uses a strategy that we call ‘show and go’ to good effect. It is where the flyhalf usually runs laterally across the field and does a dummy switch with the centre. He then steps off his feet and attacks the line in a premeditated fashion. The problem is that, because it is a premeditated play, it loses its efficiency after a while. I fear the Stormers will struggle to create that momentum through that channel against a well-organised defence.”