Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

‘Outstanding Mngomezulu integral to future of Stormers,’ says Dobson

Dobson admitted that it will be interesting to try and get the balance right between playing Mngomezulu, Libbok and Willemse.

Stormers coach John Dobson was absolutely thrilled with the performance of rising star Sacha Mngomezulu, after the Junior Springbok captain starred in his first start for the Stormers against Zebre on Saturday.

The Stormers cruised to a 37-22 bonus point win in their United Rugby Championship encounter, thanks in large part to the impressive Mngomezulu, who was handed the kicking duties despite Manie Libbok and Damian Willemse being on the field.

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Playing at inside centre, Mngomezulu enjoyed an action packed performance, nailing all seven of his kicks at goal (three penalties and four conversions), while he also scored a try and assisted one, for a personal haul of 22 points.

“He is integral to the future of this team and the union,” enthused Dobson after the match.

“He was absolutely outstanding today. He is so competitive and is very special. We tried to grow him by giving him the goal-kicking and he did really well.

“Our plan with him is probably to let him settle at 12 and then longer-term he could be one of the better flyhalves in this country.”

Balancing act

Dobson admitted that it will be interesting to try and get the balance right between playing Mngomezulu, Libbok and Willemse, with the Stormers having a lot of depth in the backline.

“Sacha was outstanding today, but he doesn’t have to start every game in what will probably be a breakout season. Manie is definitely our number one flyhalf, and Damian will play at 12 and 15 depending on how Clayton (Blommetjies) goes.

“It’s not impossible to see Manie at 10, Sacha at 12 and Damian at fullback, if Clayton’s not around. Sacha has now been exposed a bit at this level, and he has confidence. Whether that means he starts or not next week, I’m not sure.

“We won’t be able to field our best combinations every single week. We will have Clayton back next week and Damian will be going back home. We have to build capacity and I think Sacha’s performance was a massive step forward.

“Unless something goes wrong, he is going to be involved in every one of our matchday 23s going forward.”

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