Leyds on Bok charge

Devin Hermanus

Dillyn Leyds is finding the form in Super Rugby that earned him a Springbok call-up in 2017, and the Stormers left wing must feature for South Africa in the four matches leading up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Leyds was not part of coach Rassie Erasmus’ plans in 2018 when Aphiwe Dyantyi, Cheslin Kolbe, Makazole Mapimpi and S’bu Nkosi were the men entrusted out wide.

A skilful player with pace, vision and quick feet, Leyds has been backed as both a fullback and, occasionally, flyhalf for the Stormers and Western Province.

But all nine of his Bok caps under Allister Coetzee came on the wing – and it’s at left wing that Leyds has shown his ability to influence play and provide an injection of creativity for the Stormers this season.

Leyds starred in the 41-24 win over the Rebels in Melbourne, running 30 metres and beating five defenders for the opening try. His deft pass to Damian Willemse led to Juarno Augustus’ five-pointer, and he later split the Rebels defence to feed Damian de Allende for a touchdown. Leyds was also lively against the Reds and Blues in the two previous weeks.

He was man-of-the-match in the Stormers’ 24-23 victory over the Bulls, striking with lethal precision on the blindside and playing a key role in Herschel Jantjies’ try after fielding a poor exit kick before ghosting past several opposing players.

Leyds, who can be trusted under the high ball as well as to put boot to synthetic rubber, has also worked admirably on his defence and against the Hurricanes in Round 6, the 88kg speedster made a crucial touchline tackle on rampaging Kiwi behemoth, Ben Lam.

Following his breakout season in 2018, the Lions’ Dyantyi is set to retain the No 11 jersey for the Boks’ 2019 opener against the Wallabies on July 20 at Ellis Park. The Sharks’ Mapimpi, who had four tries after 11 rounds of Super Rugby this season, is the man likely to be next in line, but Leyds has given both Bok speedsters a run for their money.

The Stormers flyer’s 11 linebreaks in the competition placed him joint third with Mapimpi after 12 rounds, while Dyantyi only had five. Leyds bettered both men in runs (60), tackle breaks (25), linebreak assists (4) and offloads (8), and matched Dyantyi (2) for try assists.

Averaging 188 metres per game, Dyantyi’s kicking strength has been no match for Leyds’ 385m per game while Mapimpi has averaged 382m.

Dyantyi, who’s often guilty of ‘shooting in’ and out of line on defence, also missed 10 tackles in eight matches; Leyds and Mapimpi missed seven and five tackles in nine games respectively.

Leyds was wearing the No 11 Stormers jersey when he delivered that no-look offload to SP Marais in a 2017 Super Rugby clash against the Chiefs that came shortly before his Bok debut.

If Leyds keeps up his red-hot run in 2019, Erasmus surely won’t be able to overlook the versatile 26-year-old playmaker.

Devin Hermanus works in the SA media industry, drinks non-alcoholic beer on weekends, and never leaves home without a cellphone charger, dental floss or hand sanitizer. Follow him on Twitter: @DevinMyles11

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- Devin Hermanus

Let's chat

  • boyo

    For me Leyds should go to the WC ahead of Kolbe. Both excellent players but I want us to back the local guy where possible.

    The problem Rassie has created for himself is that he has picked so many WP player that fans think he is bias (I am thinking of the likes of Ruan Nel, shickerling, Sergael Petersen, Gio Aplon at 36) now when a WP player is doing well and gets the call he will inevitably be criticized for bias. A similar thing as Herschell Janatjies.

    If we include Leyds and Jantjies then Rassie has called up an entire WP team expect a Flyhalf and blindside flank.

    12)De Allende
    15) Willemse

    We can also add ex player Britz,Vermulen, Koch,Aplon, Kolbe, Louw and I am sure a couple more

    • Herman Schroder?

      This discussion is moot after their pathetic showing against the Jaguares. Not a Bok in sight, true story. Cheers.

    • Dean

      Your logic is flawed. If Vermeulen and Brits are Stormers players, last I checked they play for the Bulls, then PS du Toit is a Sharks player. Sergeal is a Cheetahs player and Bongi is a Bulls player. Btw Vermeulen started his career in Bloem. Kolisi was schooled in the Eastern Cape. Is this logic based on where they were born, schooled or who they play for now? Because all 3 are tailored to fit here by you.

      The players you mention, most are either not going to be playing in the starting lineup and some won’t even be part of the 31 man squad. If you pick Rassie’s most likely 31 man squad. Willie, Willemse, Dyantyi, Nkosi, Kolbe, Am, De Allende, Kriel, Esterhuizen, Pollard, Elton, Papier, Faf, van Zyl. Vermeulen, Whiteley, Louw, PS, Notshe, Kolisi, RG, Etzebeth, Mostert, Beast, Kitshoff, Qcoboka, Malherbe, Nyakane, Mbonambi, Marx, Brits.

      Stormers 9, Bulls 9, Sharks and Lions 4 each and 5 overseas players. Lood may still come into that equation – injury permitting. That gives you 14 players of colour. There’s still a whole bunch of others who stand a chance but based on last year, this is probably his preferred squad as of now.

      • albert Hoffmann

        U can alos be an ex stormers player, rassie doesnt mind as long as u have worn the blue an white stripes. Rassie just loves boring rugby.

      • Barry

        I would have to go with Boyo on this one. There were 13 Stormers in the EOYT, not 9, but this is already well documented.

        I think that SA’s largest investor in rugby. Remgro, will continue to push players from their businesses (Stormers/Bulls) and that SA Rugby will fall in line with this pressure, so expect many more strange selections and exclusions!

  • Chris Mouton

    Well, Dyantyi is woefully out of form…He needs to regain his mojo back ASAP. As for Leyds, he’s been in the Bok fold and couldn’t make the step up. Mapimpi and Nkosi get my backing.

    • albert Hoffmann

      but nkosi and mpimimpi dont play in blue?

  • Barry

    No Devin, you can’t compare stats of a guy playing 15 with others playing 11 – nice try!

    That aside Dillyn has had a very solid season and is worthy of mention. This follows on from a very good Currie Cup season. He has 14kgs on Kolbe so is a better bet at international level, all other aspects being equal. He is also a far safer bet at 15 than Willemse!

    I would suspect the starting wings will be Nkosi and Mpimpi with the Lions speedster in the mix. For Erasmus to consider him at wing, I think he would want to see him play there during SR!

    Another dark horse may be Gethard Van Den Heever. Have a look at his stats – currently playing for the Sun Wolves!

    • Devin Hermanus

      Leyds has started five successive matches at No 11 since Round 7 – six if you include Stormers v Jaguares in Round 12.

      His standout performances thus far have been at left wing and in the three matches he started at fullback, he moved out wide mid-game following injuries/substitutions.

      To be fair, Dyantyi also played at No 13 this season which hasn’t helped him cope with second season syndrome.

      Absolutely agree – Gerhard van den Heever has been impressive despite making the second-most handling errors in the competition.

      He leads the tournament for turnovers, and his overall numbers dwarf those of Dyantyi. Van den Heever is still nippy at 30 years old, and also outweighs Dyantyi, Leyds and Mapimpi.

      GdvH would make a decent Bok but he was never quite the same after leaving the Bulls for the Stormers/WP in 2011. He has been playing overseas for almost six years… but ja, he would definitely be an interesting dark horse.

      • Devin Hermanus

        Correction: GvdH. Apologies.

    • John

      You must be thrilled with the Sharks result. They were unlucky not to win. The result shows that we can compete with the Kiwis. Hopefully SA sides can use this as motivation going into the play-offs. I will be very surprised if Rassie even invites Leyds to a training camp despite his form. He has discarded a number of players who were capped in the AC era and I don’t think he will go back on that.

      • albert Hoffmann

        no it does not. If u cant score tries u wont beat them, u can just be happy with a pathetic draw, how sad. They did not deserve that game in the slightest cause they are too conservative.

      • Barry

        Yes thanks, good game, such a pity no cigar!

        The bigger victory though Sits in s issuethe confidence that it created for both the Sharks going forward and for the Bulls and Stormers that will play them shortly at home. The psychological edge in the knowledge that they can be beaten!

        Would tend to agree on the Leyds issue, but there’s still much rugby to go and still chance of injury, so he just needs to keep delivering

      • boyo

        I was very pleased and it does show that SA can beat NZ if we play the SA way. I agree that a number of Coetzee players seem to have been discarded but I wouldn’t write Leyds off he has a very good skillset there are a couple players that Coetzee first capped that can be very useful.

  • Ulrich

    Dyantyi is suffering from second season syndrome.

    My name is not Herman, so no I am not all for Lions (WP / Stormers fan), I just think we have to look at B&I Lions 2021 and RWC 2023. RWC 2019 is not a realistic goal for the Boks and I would be VERY happy if we made the semis.

    Dyantyi will be back and hopefully be better for RWC 2019, but more importantly he will definitely be much better next season bar injury. Teams know his pace and his strengths and they have negated it now. A great player learns from it and improves – I believe Dyantyi will.

    For his age there are very few wingers as polished as he is. His only lacking element is defensive nuance at the moment – and that is luckily not in the tackling stakes ala Quade Cooper.

    • Barry

      I agree with all that you have said, but the question is whether he’s done enough to make the cut this year? If selections are based on form, then probably not!

  • Dean

    I don’t see him leapfrogging Nkosi, Dyantyi, Kolbe and Mapimpi for that jersey. We lack depth at 3, 9 and 15. That’s the biggest worry.

    • albert Hoffmann

      he plays for the stormers.. just keep that in mind..

  • Chris

    I don’t know how useful it is to compare player stats like this without taking into consideration what team they are playing for. Like looking at a player through a straw.

    They have little influence over the game plan or how the team is performing overall. Look at Barret when his forwards are being dominated and his scrumhalf is getting caught.
    Put Dyantyi behind a dominating pack and a on form nr.10 and you’ll likely get much different stats.

  • Herman Schroder?

    Love these comments on this site. All talking Stormers / Bulls as the main contributors, what a joke. First they were all part of Rassie’s flop year last year. Not a good start. Then their SR form is shockingly inconsistent and skill levels at an all time low. Bunny hopping is not a skill, it confuses all your team mates and the defenders crunch you as soon as the battery dies.

    Despite the Bulls win last night they were actually piss poor with hardly a Bok in sight. The Stormers were even worse with no Boks on display. Even the Sharks doing their ‘dom krag defence at all costs’ routine could not trouble the Saders try line once in 80 minutes. The Stormers managed a single try after 76 minutes. That’s no tries in 156 minutes from supposedly our title touted top sides.

    How the hell can Rassie possibly come up with a WC winning side from this bunch. I won’t name players because quite frankly no one deserves to be called Springboks based on these performances imo. Obviously Rassie will be relying on 31 players to play dom krag rubbish which is their Franchise brand anyway and will be easy to apply going forward. The only problem is it aint gonna trouble anybody in the RC or at the WC.

    Yeah same old same old from me but please folks nothing is more same old same old than our rugby. The standards, diabolical before, are even worse now. Most of our ‘good’ games have been against our own Franchises. The Bull are ‘top’ of the log but have played seven of their eight derby games and still have to tour. Not a good measure of just how good they are considering the conservative game plan adopted by most of their local opponents. In those games we learn nothing.

    Good luck Rassie, too late now I know but don’t say I didn’t warn you. Cheers.

    • Albert

      Yawn,I doubt Rassie cares what you say, nobody on this site does.

      • albert Hoffmann

        Shame does the truth hurt too much….

        • Albert

          You are the one who should answer that.

  • albert Hoffmann

    Of course Leyds on a a bok charge, he plays for Rassie’s favourite stormers doesnt he? every single stormers player is on a bok charge no matter how C rap they are. Cause rassie loves boring rugby and boring unskilled players and therefore loves the stormers longtime…

  • Herman Schroder?

    Well Leyds was particularly poor against the Jaguares ( not helped of course by his equally poor team mates and game plan ) so to say the article was a wee bit premature is probably correct. The problem in SR is that anyone doing his ‘job’ well is considered a superhero by some, especially misleading when they are surrounded by mediocrity.

    I think a Springbok should be a damn sight more skilled, consistent and mentally strong than most of the current crop. Mind you Rassie’s record so far also not too bright so folks I believe we have a problem. Cheers.

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