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Fleck wants fans, media to "chill" over Willemse

Damian Willemse of the Stormers. Carl Fourie/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Stormers coach Robbie Fleck says fans and the media need to "chill" when it comes to teenage flyhalf Damian Willemse, who had a tough evening as his side slipped to a 33-23 away Super Rugby loss to the Bulls on Saturday.

Willemse's form in the early part of the season had led to calls for his inclusion in the Springbok set-up, but while Fleck does believe national team honours await, he cautions about expecting too much too soon from such an inexperienced player.

"He is 19 years old‚" Fleck told reporters. "We have to look after this kid. There is no doubt about his talent. He is a wonderfully talented player.

"He is going to play many a game for the Stormers and I would like to think the Springboks. We need to chill about the hype around him.

"We just need to give him confidence and look after him. Get his game management right. There is no doubt what he can do. We just need to put on the brakes on the expectations on such a young kid.

"He's a special player. South African rugby needs to look after him‚ so does the media to be fair in terms of the expectations placed on this young kid."

Willemse struggled with his kicking off the tee against the Bulls, with just a 50 percent success rate, and was also not as dynamic with ball in hand as he has been previously in the campaign.

He was second-best against one of his rivals for the Bok number 10 jersey, Handre Pollard, and will go up against another in Elton Jantjies when the Stormers travel to the Lions on Saturday.