VIDEO: Dobson opens up about fullback and flyhalf conundrum
The Stormers suddenly appears to have too many game-breakers and coach John Dobson knows he has some tough calls to make down the road.
Speaking after his team’s come-from-behind win over the Bulls in Pretoria at the weekend, Dobson said he has a clear plan in place for talented stars like Damian Willemse, Manie Libbok and Warrick Gelant.
A last-minute try by replacement scrumhalf Paul de Wet sealed a 30-26 win in a gripping encounter against the Bulls – a result that ended a 24-match winning streak for Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White at Fort Loftus.
Dobson spoke of a ‘very hairy’ second half – as the Bulls came back from being 0-18 down (after 30 minutes) to take a 26-18 lead.
He also commented on replacement Warrick Gelant’s impact from the bench, when he came on for Sergeal Petersen in the 64th minute.
It was his burst down the left wing that set up the match-winning score for fellow impact player Paul de Wet in the final play of the match.
He admitted it is a bit like playing ‘roulette’ with Manie Libbok and Warrick Gelant, as they bring the “magic” that can turn games in an instant.
“We won’t have come back in that game if Warrick hadn’t done the magic he did [in the final play],” Dobson said.
“Manie is the same. He can produce some incredible attacking kicks and he brings a lot of smoothness.”
He said they will continue to play Libbok at flyhalf to give him “confidence” and admitted he may have failed Damian Willemse by interchanging him between No.10 and No.15.
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“Manie will get a run there [at flyhalf],” Dobson said, adding: “Going through a pressure game like that, he will be better for it.”
The Stormers coach said he is not going to discard the decision to rotate Gelant and Willemse at fullback for the next few weeks – which will see them play the Sharks (away and home) and the Lions away.
“I don’t think – based on a last-minute win against the Bulls – we are going to change that,” Dobson told a post-match media briefing, adding: “We will stick with the plan.
“The question is, how important the next few weeks are? To chop and change would not be fair on the other players involved.”
With Gelant’s contract up in June, the Stormers are hard at work to retain his services for the long run.
“If Warrick stays, we can’t have Warrick Gelant starting and Damian Willemse on the bench, or vice versa.
“The most logical move then would be Damian up to No.12.
“That is not going to happen in the next couple of weeks.”