Leyds just keeps getting better
To say that Dillyn Leyds has had a great season is an understatement.
The Stormers utility back had some making up to do after missing out on the greater part of last season after sustaining a knee injury early last year. And boy, has he done that.
He was good before his injury in 2016, and he has been even better this year.
It all started when the Stormers went up against their age-old rivals, the Bulls, at Newlands in Round One. Leyds played his part a superb season-opening performance by the Stormers; and fast-forward to the 17th round, he ended his Super Rugby round-robin season the same way he started it against the men from Pretoria – in blistering form.
At the weekend, Leyds was massive with ball-in-hand again and absolutely devastating on the counter-attack. His defence-crumbling break in opposition 22 laid the foundation for loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe’s try, and he also ran a great angle to pace past Bulls defenders and score the try that regained the lead for Robbie Fleck’s team. He also gave a top offload to flyhalf Damian Willemse to put him away for the try.
But there was so much more that happened before that last game against their old foes at Loftus. So much more that proved that he has been in outstanding form.
I mean, just think back to his season. In the first few rounds, he a top performer. Remember the solo try he scored in the Stormers’ defeat to the Lions? Or that stunning, back-hand offload against the Chiefs at Newlands that put SP Marais up for his try.
That was spectacular. And as brilliant as it was, it was not, at all, an isolated moment of glory for the former Force back.
He even stepped into the flyhalf position when the Stormers were injury struck at No 10 for the tour to New Zealand, and he kept his cool. He was thrown in there, and it doesn’t get any tougher than facing the Crusaders, the Highlanders and the Hurricanes in their own back yard.
From his isolated stints at fullback this year to his top efforts on the wing, the 24-year-old has fully deserved that Springbok call-up for the Incoming Test series against France last month.
But if you look at just how good he’s been, it wouldn’t be unfair to say that he deserved more than just a call-up that resulted in a few minutes during the series whitewash.
He has been good when he stood in at fullback and he’s been devastating out wide. He has created something out of nothing and he has showed just how potent he is in broken play.
2017 has been a good year for Dillyn Leyds. And if he can end it on a high this weekend, with a performance that follows up on what he’s put on show until now, I can’t see him not being in the Springbok set-up come the Rugby Championship. This time, though, he should just get a better chance to take his Super Rugby magic to the international arena.