Stormers kicking coach Louis Koen believes Neil de Kock has been underused in the Vodacom Super 14 this year.
De Kock was named in the Stormers starting team for only the second time this year, and will face the Chiefs with jersey 9 on his back.
With the Stormers freezing when assuming positions of contention in almost every game this season, it is clear that a player of De Kock’s experience and ability has been underutilised. His kicking from the base allows him to take pressure off the inexperienced Stormers flyhalves.
Although few can contend that Conradie on form does not deserve the starting NoÂ 9 jersey more often than not, there is reason to ask why De Kock has not featured more prominently in the last 20 minutes to assist in shutting out games.
Koen is not in the position to criticise selection decisions made by coach Kobus van der Merwe, but does agree that De Kock’s kicking ability and calmness could have been more liberally employed.
“I couldn’t agree more that Neil is the perfect candidate to help shut out games,” Koen said. “It is not my role to comment on why he hasn’t been used that much, but I’m pleased he’s been given an opportunity to play the Chiefs.”
Koen believes that both De Kock and Conradie’s kicking games need to be bolstered, and intends to work intensely with the duo as well as third choice scrummy Paul Delport between the Super 14 and Currie Cup.
“Our No 9s need to play a much bigger role in terms of kicking. It’s crazy passing the ball 10m back, and then asking our No 10 to clear under pressure every time. It’s just ineffective.”
By Chris Hewitt.