At the end of a trying season of provincial rugby under the sweltering South African sun, Willem Petrus Nel trudged exhausted from the field.
He turned to his coach and mentor, Pierre Ribbens, a distinguished ex-prop for the Bulls in what is now the Super 15 competition, the cream of the Southern Hemisphere game.
“I think I’m done with rugby – I don’t want to play anymore,” he said.
In late 2008, the 22-year-old tight-head had completed his agricultural studies, his certificate signed and stamped. From university some 250 miles to the south, the pull of home, the sheep farm he had been raised tending and the rolling mountains of the Northern Cape was strong.
“Give me a week,” replied Ribbens.
This weekend represents the final chance for Gregor Townsend and Alan Solomons, head coaches of Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby, to test out various combinations in a match situation ahead of the 2014/2015 season which starts in all earnest next weekend. Edinburgh played their pre-season friendly match last night against Newcastle Falcons in Hawick while Glasgow Warriors face London Scottish in London.
In last night’s match the final score was Edinburgh Rugby 21(11)/15 (10) Newcastle Falcons. Alan Solomons was pleased with the win as although it was only a friendly match they had gone into it with the mind-set of it being a competitive one.
Peter Murchie scored twice as Glasgow Warriors climbed to second in the RaboDirect PRO12 table with a dramatic 37-34 win over Edinburgh that also sealed them the 1872 Cup for a fifth year in a row.
In their rescheduled clash after January’s fixture was washed out, the Warriors ran in three tries in the first half through Murchie, the departing Ruaridh Jackson and Mark Bennett.
WP Nel barrelled over for the visitors who struggled with ill discipline as they lost a man in each half to the sin bin but Murchie bagged a second soon after the interval to put the Warriors in control.
The sound of Afrikaans being spoken among a group of Edinburgh players yesterday fuelled the belief that Murrayfield is taking on a strong South African flavour, but prop Willem Nel emerged from the huddle to insist that the capital side is not losing its Scottish identity.
Edinburgh Rugby will welcome the return of captain Greig Laidlaw this Sunday as they look to repeat last season’s away success against Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park (6 October, kick-off 3.05pm South African Time). The 27-year-old scrum-half – who kicked the winning drop-goal on that day last year – has recovered from the knee injury that has kept him side-lined since the summer to make his first competitive outing of the season.
Edinburgh Rugby recorded their first win under new coach, Alan Solomons with a 15-5 victory over Newcastle Falcons in their final warm-up game before the 2013/14 RaboDirect PRO12 season gets under way.
The RaboDirect Pro12 2012/13 season kicked off on Friday night with Welsh outfit Newport Gwent Dragons hosting tournament newcomers the Italian team Zebre. The Dragons slayed Zebre, outscoring the visitors by four tries to none.
Early last month Edinburgh Rugby announced they had acquired the services of former England and Lions star flanker Neil Back; as forwards coach.
Yesterday, Edinburgh indicated they had bolstered their hooking options by signing another former Lions player, and one time Sale Sharks stalwart, hooker Andy Titterrell.
Both of the Cheetahs starting props against the Crusaders are injured.
Cheetahs tighthead prop WP Nel has signed a three-year contract with Scottish Pro12 outfit Edinburgh and will join the capital club at the end of the Super Rugby season.
Hello all, I have been coerced into being a contributing author on Rugby-Talk, providing a Cheetah perspective on all things rugby! This is new territory for me, but in the interests of Cheetahs supporters, and the growth of Rugby-Talk, I will give it a good old whirl.
In today’s Article, I will look at the possible contenders for props in the Cheetahs 2012 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention. I encourage all to differ from me, as that is what we all blog for. However, let’s avoid the personal diatribes.
I wrote a piece a few months ago entitled : “Most enjoyable Test against England”. It was an Article about two Test matches South Africa played against England in 1984.
Danie Gerber scored 4 tries in the two Tests; overall South Africa crossed the English goal line 9 times.