- Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick said Warrick Gelant would be given the freedom to display his many talents at wing against the Wallabies.
- Gelant is the fourth player that will start at right wing for the Springboks this season after Cheslin Kolbe, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Jesse Kriel.
- The Boks face Australia in unfamiliar Adelaide on Saturday, looking to bounce back from their defeat to the All Blacks at Ellis Park.
Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick reassured fans of the maverick former Stormers fullback that Warrick Gelant would be given the freedom to display his many talents at wing against the Wallabies on Saturday.
Gelant, nicknamed the “Bogeyman”, is the fourth player starting at right wing for the Springboks this season after Cheslin Kolbe, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Jesse Kriel.
Stick backed Gelant to bring what he’s known for, especially in concert with fullback Damian Willemse, despite playing in the often rigid, kick-friendly Springbok game plan.
Warrick Gelant (Photo by Charle Lombard/Gallo Images)
“We can’t restrict a player from performing at his best,” Stick said.
“Yes, we’ve got a game plan and a system of how we want to do things but the players know very well that they can always bring their X-factor.
“What makes Warrick Gelant the player he is, you should never leave that behind. He’s got all the freedom on what he wants to do on the field and the support of his teammates around him.
“Him and Damian Willemse playing together at the Stormers is going to be an advantage.
“We want and pray that Warrick and Damian Willemse will bring what makes them special. We are in a good position in that sense.”
The France-bound fullback had a storming United Rugby Championship (URC) for the Capetonian champions.
Although he’s done most of his damage from fullback, he is the type to manufacture space in the tightest areas of the field, a handy, canny ability that the Boks hope to exploit come Saturday (07:30 kick-off).
Gelant can, however, be prone to the odd mistake as he is not a risk averse player, something that might rankle with head coach Jacques Nienaber if it doesn’t come off.
However, Stick was adamant that, around settled fellow “ballers” in Willemse, Lukhanyo Am and Makazole Mapimpi at outside back, Gelant would feel at home.
15 Reece Hodge, 14 Tom Wright, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Nic White, 8 Rob Valenti, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Jed Holloway, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Ala’atoa, 2 Folau Fa’ainga, 1 James Slipper (captain)
Substitutes: 16 David Porecki, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Rob Leota, 21 Pete Samu, 22 Tate McDermott, 23 Andrew Kellaway
15 Damian Willemse, 14 Warrick Gelant, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Ox Nche
Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Jaden Hendrikse, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn
“Going back to Japan in 2019, Warrick has done the job for us before at wing. I’m excited to see what he’s going to do tomorrow (Saturday),” said Stick.
“I’m glad he is finally getting his opportunity to show his wares. He’s seen what others did in that position like Cheslin Kolbe (injured) and Kurt-Lee Arendse (suspended).
“It’s hugely important for us to show confidence in our players and give them opportunities when we can.
“Warrick is a great player and he did well in the URC for the Stormers. It’s also important to give him that freedom to show his X-factor talents.
“He can turn stones into bread on the field. We just need to support him in his on-field decisions.
“Those combinations with Lukhanyo, Makazole and Damian (Willemse), who are more settled, will suit Warrick quite well.
“We know Makazole can fit in anywhere – he’s played for the Kings and he was one of the top try-scorers in Super Rugby back then, went to the Cheetahs and never stopped scoring tries and at the Sharks.
“Makazole is someone who is well settled in our team.”