Why Jean will wing it

Stormers coach Kobus van der Merwe has explained to keo.co.za why Jean de Villiers is likely to play wing against the Crusaders in the Vodacom Super 14 on Saturday.

Van der Merwe highlighted injuries to Jongi Nokwe and Tonderai Chavhanga as the primary reason for shifting De Villiers.

“We haven’t made up our mind totally yet, and at this stage have only finalised a match 22 without deciding position,” Van der Merwe said. “The thing is that both Tonderai and Jongi are not in that 22 through injury. Therefore we are very thin in the back three and Jean has immense experience in the position, he excelled there for the Boks, and therefore is being very seriously considered to play wing.”

Van der Merwe dismissed suggestions that De Villiers would be shifted because of defensive frailty. Three missed tackles in the first half against the Reds, one that led directly to Drew Mitchell’s try, seemed ideal motivation to return De Villiers to the wing.

“I’m not worried about Jean de Villiers’ defence at all. He’s had a few lapses in concentration and that’s something we’ve addressed. I am considering Jean as a wing because of the fantastic job he has done there in the past, and not any weaknesses he has at centre.”

Van der Merwe also suggested that Marius Joubert would not be tried on the wing again.

“We can’t risk an inexperienced guy against a team like the Crusaders, and whilst Jouba is immensely experienced, he is new to wing and Jean is undoubtedly more comfortable there than Jouba.”

PROBABLE STORMERS BACKLINE

15. Joe Pietersen
14. Rayno Benjamin
13. Marius Joubert
12. De Wet Barry
11. Jean de Villiers
10. Naas Olivier
9. Neil de Kock

The Stormers side will be announced at 12h00 tomorrow.

By Chris Hewitt