Stormers stand-in coach Labeeb Levy has lauded the sparkling performance of Springbok fullback Damian Willemse in their 34-29 Preparation Series defeat to the Bulls at Loftus on Friday.

The Stormers were denied victory after the home team were awarded a late penalty try, while visiting No 8 Juarno Augustus spilled the ball while going over for what would have been a score-levelling try – with a conversion to come.

Willemse, who last week announced he had turned down an offer to join the Bulls and instead opted to play for the Cape-based team for a further three years, stood out as the shining light in the match.

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“I have known Damian since he was nine. We also used to play touchies on the beach when he was 17, 18,” said Levy.

“I told him to play smart rugby, to look for the territory, and I’m thrilled for him as he stepped up and played with confidence,” said Levy.

The stand-in Stormers coach said he was impressed by the quality of rugby that was played.

“Both teams played with intent and purpose and in that aspect I’m proud of captain Salmaan Moerat and the team’s effort,” he said.

“We are in a transformation phase in terms of playing style, but we want to play a brand that suits the Western Cape in particular.”

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