Taute to start for Stormers


Here was a kid who made his Super Rugby debut for the Lions in 2010 as a 19-year-old, and had played some good rugby at fullback and outside centre that resulted in a Springbok debut in 2012.

The sight of Taute – normally with his socks around his ankles – counter-attacking from the back and breaking tackles when he hit the line at pace was enough to suggest that he would give the Stormers another attacking dimension.

However, the Cape’s faithful haven’t quite seen the best of Taute, because of a dip in form caused by a plethora of injuries over the last two years. In fact, his rugby has probably regressed.

When he was on the park, he looked a bit cumbersome at fullback, not really counter-attacking, just ambling up to the opposition and dying with the ball. He didn’t play with the same zest and flair that made him such a massive prospect for the future.

Taute showed some signs that he is getting back to his best in the Currie Cup last year when he was moved to inside centre for Western Province, a position where backline coach Robbie Fleck thinks he could excel.

On Saturday Taute will make his first start for the Stormers this season after coming back from a knee injury. He played a couple of games for the WP Vodacom side, and it seems like he has shaken off some of the rust that has built up over the last few years.

But, besides getting an opportunity to start in the Stormers jersey again, Taute wants to get his once promising career back on track, and build some momentum as far as his Stormers career is concerned.

“I’m desperate to play for the Stormers again. I just want to get back on the field,” Taute told reporters this week.

“Over the last few weeks I got some good game time with the Vodacom Cup team. I just want to play a full season and build some momentum, so I can play to my full potential and play my best rugby for the Stormers.

“I’m desperate and hungry. I can’t wait pull on that jersey if I get an opportunity.”

Fleck certainly believes Taute can add a lot of value to the Stormers, and says the Cape side’s fans haven’t yet seen the best of the Taute.

“I think Jaco has got huge value to offer us, and in the Currie Cup last year he was one of our players of the season. He has got massive leadership capabilities, he is a good communicator and a good organiser,” said the former Stormers centre, who probably played his best match for the Boks in the No12 jersey against the All Blacks in 2000.

“I think we have found his best position at 12, and he brings a lot of experience and a bit if grunt to that backline of ours.

“He has worked his way back into form, and it’s important that we get the Jaco Tautes, and other guys returning from injury, some game time.”

Taute seems to be warming up to the idea of inside centre as well.

He has worked really hard on his distribution skills to become a quality inside centre. He has the physical attributes to get over the advantage line, but he is also trying to add a bit of panache to his game.

“Because I played at inside centre in the Currie Cup, and I felt it went well and because we won it, I built up some good momentum in that position,” Taute said.

“I would like to keep playing in that position and build on those perform-ances. I just want to improve with each week. I’m not saying I can’t play fullback, but my focus is now on the position where I have been playing.”

Taute, though, knows that the competition for the Stormers’ No12 jersey is going to hot up.

Damian de Allende has played some good rugby this year, while it seems that Jean de Villiers may play one more season before he hangs up his boots.

“Damian has had a great season. He is playing good rugby, and all the other centres in the squad know that they have to play their best rugby to get some game time,” Taute said.

“It brings the best out of the other players, and that is what we as the Stormers are striving towards, to have lots of depth.” - The Star

Original source: Taute to start for Stormers