Rugby

Bittersweet end for Terblanche

2012-05-21 12:20
Stefan Terblanche (Gallo)
Cape Town – Just a few weeks shy of his 37th birthday, Springbok Stefan Terblanche would have had mixed feelings as he ended an unusually lengthy first-class rugby career at Twickenham on Saturday.

GALLERY: Past weekend in pictures

His Ulster side were thumped 42-14 by Leinster in the all-Irish Heineken Cup final, but the former Sharks utility-back favourite did get to bring the curtain down on his playing days before a fitting crowd of 81 744 at one of the game’s most prestigious venues.

Terblanche, who made his Bok debut during Nick Mallett’s coaching tenure as far back as 1998, was among several South Africans on duty in the northern hemisphere showpiece, and scored a respectable seven out of 10 in ex-England and Lions lock Paul Ackford’s ratings for the Daily Telegraph.

“A master of the catch of the high ball, but errors crept into his game as Leinster pounded way,” Ackford wrote.

Terblanche returns to South Africa now to take up a full-time director’s position with the SA Rugby Legends.

Also for the losing outfit, Ackford said of compatriot Ruan Pienaar (6/10): “Not his day. His kicking was slightly off and the forwards never gave him the platform to do his stuff.”

Lock Johann Muller was also given a six: “The captain couldn’t find a way to get his side back in contention. No criticism there. It needed Superman.”

But former Bulls loose forward Pedrie Wannenburg got a more scathing 4/10: “Sadly, a disaster. A ludicrous one-handed pass which went nowhere, and a series of missed tackles.”

Meanwhile, a smaller SA delegation among the winning side’s ranks both earned healthy ratings of eight, even though prop Heinke van der Merwe, who also scored a try, only got some 20 minutes as a substitute: “Huge impact off the bench.”

And former Cheetahs hooker Richardt Strauss, who did start for Leinster, earned this observation from Ackford: “One of the game’s fleet-footed hookers. Impressively mobile and good on the ball.”

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

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