Treeby getting tactical debut

KEY ROLE: Shaun Treeby

Stormers New Zealander will face his old club

Stormers coach Robbie Fleck will hand New Zealander Shaun Treeby a debut against his old club the Highlanders when the sides clash in Dunedin on Friday.

Treeby‚ an experienced centre‚ will come into the 23 for Daniel du Plessis‚ who suffered a shoulder injury during last weekend’s 57-24 loss to the Crusaders.

Du Plessis and flank Cobus Wiese‚ who also sustained a shoulder injury‚ have returned home.

The 28-year-old Treeby is on a short-term contract in Cape Town after the Stormers lost Bok midfielders Damian de Allende and Juan de Jongh and Scotland centre Huw Jones to long-term injuries.

Treeby will return to New Zealand after Super Rugby to play for the Wellington Lions in the ITM Cup.

But after 50 appearances for the Highlanders, Treeby’s experience could be valuable this weekend as the Stormers attempt to steady their season after losing their last two matches.

“Before the tour I said guys would get opportunities and this is a squad with a lot of young kids in it‚ who have never toured New Zealand‚” Fleck said.

“They have a fantastic opportunity to play against some of the best players in the world and it’s a learning curve for all of us.

“So to have a guy like Shaun Treeby‚ who has spent his career playing against these guys‚ is good.

“We will introduce him this week‚ but we haven’t decided if it’s from the bench or in the starting team.

“He’s been great in the squad since he joined and he’s been helping a lot and we’re all excited to see how he will go when he gets on the field.”

The Highlanders started the season slowly but have hit their straps in recent weeks.

Last weekend, they beat the Sunwolves 40-15.

Fleck has analysed the Crusaders match and feels his team will be stronger as long as they learn and adapt after the lessons they received from the seventime champions.

“We need to work on a lot of things. We had a good meeting and a good training session today [Monday]‚” Fleck said.

“In terms of our attack, the Crusaders line speed put us under a lot of pressure. Their defensive work around the breakdown also put us under pressure.

“We will face similar challenges over the next two weeks so it’s an area we have to sharpen up.

“We knew they had line speed‚ but they generated even more than we anticipated.

“The Highlanders like to move the ball around and they have key All Blacks in Aaron and Ben Smith in their set up‚ as well as Malakai Fekitoa.

“They are a very dangerous side and they are likely to up the intensity and the tempo and they will look at what the Crusaders did to us in that 10-minute blitz [when the Crusaders scored 21 points] and learn a lot from it too.

“We will keep pushing to play at a high intensity like we did in the second half against the Crusaders.”

Captain Siya Kolisi is back after missing last week’s match and fullback SP Marais is fit again and available for selection.

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