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South Africa Under-20 captain Sacha Mngomezulu’s future is at flyhalf.

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However, for the foreseeable future, he will feature at inside centre at the Stormers.

It is in line with a development process used to great success by New Zealand – playing a rookie next to a seasoned player.

Mngomezulu, 20, was one of the key figures in the Stormers’ win over Italian outfit Zebre at the weekend.

The Stormers, along with the Lions, flew the South African flag in the United Rugby Championship at the weekend.

They grabbed a third successive victory to remain unbeaten this season, as they beat Zebre 37-20 in northern Italy.

And the message was clear: ‘Mngomezulu is integral to the future of the Stormers’

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Mngomezulu, who is a natural flyhalf, was named at inside centre for the trip to Parma and was showered with praise for a mature performance.

“He was absolutely outstanding,” Stormers coach John Dobson said.

“He is so competitive and his work rate is very special,” Dobson added.

The additional responsibility of goal-kicking did not phase him, even though his first few attempts at goal were off target.

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“Our plan with him is probably to let him settle at No.12 and then longer-term he could be one of the better flyhalves in this country,” the Stormers coach said.

“We are very, very excited about all these young players that we’ve got – whether it’s Sacha, Suleiman [Hartzenberg], Imad Khan, Conor Evans and Paul de Villiers.

“We are excited about the future.”

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Dobson said that Mngomezulu is facing a head workload in a very taxing season – with the Stormers starting their first European Cup campaign in December.

“Sacha was outstanding,” Dobson said about the win in Parma, adding: “He doesn’t have to start every game in what will probably be a breakout season.

“Manie [Libbok] is definitely our No.1 flyhalf.

“Damian [Willemse] will play at No.12 and No.15, depending on how Clayton [Blommetjies] goes and our injury situation at centre.

“It’s not impossible to see Manie at No.10, Sacha at No.12 and Damian at fullback, if Clayton’s not around.”

The Stormers coach said the need for more squad depth, with the additional load of also playing in the European Cup, means there is an obvious need for utility players.

“Sacha has been exposed to this level, he has confidence and is very good.

“We won’t be running out with our best combination every week.

“We will have Blomme [Clayton Blommetjies] coming back next week and Damian [Willemse] probably going home.

“We have to build capacity and he is a massive step forward in that regard.

“The short answer is that he [Mngomezulu] will pretty much be involved in our matchday 23 every match, unless something goes wrong.”

@king365ed
@rugby365com

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