“Give him space and he will score!”
Stephen Nell writes in Die Burger that that was the verdict on Monday by Alan Zondagh after he saw Tongan star Alipate Fatafehi in action at his rugby academy in Riebeeck West on Saturday.
Fatafehi, who weighs in at 112kg, was on the left wing in a closed training session by the Stormers against the University of Cape Town.
“He’s a hell of a big boy. He scored a try in the little bit of time he was on the field. The islanders sometimes appear a little lazy and then suddenly they explode,” said Zondagh.
Fatafehi injured his ankle during the session, but according to Stormers spokesperson Frikkie Erasmus he should be able to train again on Wednesday.
The original plan with Fatafehi was to leave South Africa this past Sunday, but he will now stay for at least another week. That could mean he features in the Stormers squad for Sunday’s game against Saracens at Newlands.
“I’m not against using overseas players, as long as it is not at the expense of your own players,” said Zondagh.
“They probably feel there are weaknesses that should be addressed. It’s not something we can stop. Robert Jones, Laurent Cabannes and Fabien Galthie all played under me when I coached Western Province.”
Zondagh believes there is some merit in the experiment with Nick Koster on the wing, but believes he will be better as a loose forward in the long term.
“Nick is so talented and did a few good things. If he can reach a certain standard on the wing, Rassie Erasmus (Stormers coach) may have options for his substitutes’ bench,” said Zondagh.
“I think his best place in the future will be No 8. He has not played much at wing. It will be interesting to see how he goes when he comes up against a top wing.”
It’s not out of the question that Koster can be utilised as a wing against Saracens.
While Fatafehi and Koster can both be placed in the category of big wings, Zondagh made mention of the fact that the best “try” on Saturday was scored by the “smallest guy” – Joe Pietersen.
“He got the ball in his own half and beat about eight or nine players. It was a magnificent try. He really used his pace and skill,” said Zondagh.Tweet