Time for bruiser Elstadt to stamp his authority


One of those positions has been openside flank, where Sikhumbuzo Notshe and Nizaam Carr have been intermittently used throughout the Cape side’s Super Rugby campaign. But both players have also featured at blindside flank and No 8 respectively.

Carr and Notshe are superb ball-players, but have done a good job when asked to do the dirty work on the ground as fetchers.

However, the fact Fleck has picked Rynhardt Elstadt at No 6 for their Super Rugby clash against the Sunwolves at the Singapore National Stadium today (1.55pm SA time) could be an indication that he is still keeping his options open in that department.

Elstadt, who has made two starts at lock this season after returning from injury, is a vastly different player to Carr and Notshe.

While Notshe and Carr have a bit of finesse and a game-breaking ability, Elstadt is a no-nonsense player and a real bruiser who gets stuck into the rucks. He also has scant regard for his body, which is probably why he has featured in only a handful of games for the Stormers over the last two years.

Elstadt is not a classical fetcher in the mould of a Richie McCaw or a Francois Louw, but he is the sort of bloke who can blast open rucks, and is tough clean off the ball.

But with Carr starting at No 8, and loose forwards Notshe and Schalk Burger on the bench, Elstadt will be expected to move to the lock position in the second half.

So it will be interesting to see if he can last the 80 minutes after playing the openside role for three quarters of the match so soon after coming back from a groin injury.

“He is getting back to full fitness now and I also wanted to give (lock) JD Schickerling more game-time. Initially Pieter-Steph du Toit wasn’t going to come with us on this trip, because we are hoping Eben would have been ready. But that wasn’t to be,” Fleck said.

“With Rynhardt moving back to the flank, it does allow us to see him back there in the No 6 position. I feel he has gone really well with Pieter-Steph (at lock), but with phase three of the competition in mind, Rynhardt will give us a bit more options.

“He will be moving into the lock position in the second half. Rynhardt is nearing full fitness, and is a great selection to have because he can cover six, seven and four.”

Elstadt will be joined in the loose trio by Siya Kolisi in the No 7 jersey after he was on the bench for their last game against the Waratahs after suffering a bout of flu before the match.

Kolisi is maybe the one player who hasn’t quite benefited from the Stormers’ rotation policy, because his season seems to be a bit of a stop-start affair.

The Port Elizabeth-born loose forward is one of those players who needs minutes under the belt to perform at his best. He needs the game-time week-in and week-out to fire on all cylinders. While Elstadt will be doing the donkey work, Fleck is looking to Kolisi to get them on the front foot on attack and defence. - Saturday Star

Original source: Time for bruiser Elstadt to stamp his authority