Boks on Tour
Human wrecking ball Alberts
Durban - Most top-level rugby players would only be able to dream about winning the Currie Cup and earning a Springbok call-up on the same day. For Sharks star Willem Alberts, however, it has all become a reality... even if he is still pinching himself.
The powerfully-built Sharks loose forward barely had time to celebrate his first Currie Cup winners' medal on Saturday, having shortly afterwards been named in the 30-man Bok touring squad for next month's five-game tour of Europe.
As one of six new caps in the Bok mix - four of whom are all Sharks - it has certainly been a memorable weekend in Durban; especially for Alberts.
"It's an amazing feeling," the 26-year-old told the official In-Site website
"There hasn't been much time for it to sink in yet... and it does feel like a dream - both the Bok selection and the Currie Cup win!"
Well, as things stand, Alberts is definitely not dreaming, and when asked about all the hard work that's gone into his call-up, he added: "It's been a long process for me, but I wouldn't be in the team without my teammates at the Sharks.
"I've loved my first season in Durban. I'm lucky to be part of a winning team, with great coaches and great players - long may it continue!"
Alberts admitted to being a bit sore after Saturday's Currie Cup Final - which saw the Sharks thrash WP 30-10 in a memorable performance - but he was already looking forward to meeting up with his Bok teammates ahead of the squad's departure for Ireland this week.
"Being at the (Bok training) camp last week has definitely taken away a few of my nerves," he admitted, "it also helps having so many of my Sharks teammates in the team, too; but I just cannot wait to link up with the squad... then it will feel even more real."
Given his recent wrecking-ball displays for the Sharks - to go with his vital stats of 115kg and 1.91m - Alberts can be expected to play a major ball-carrying role for the Boks on tour.
"I haven't thought that far, to be honest," he said, when asked about his potential role in the Bok set-up, "hopefully things will all fall into place over the next few weeks."
All that said and done, Alberts is aware of how tough the competition is for places in the South African starting line-up.
With Bok regulars Schalk Burger, Juan Smith and Pierre Spies all named in the 30-man touring squad, Alberts will join the likes of Sharks teammates Ryan Kankowski and Keegan Daniel in putting pressure on that trio during November.
"We are blessed with an abundance of quality loose forwards in South Africa," said Alberts, "simply breaking into the Test team would be an achievement for me.
"I am, however, quite an all-round loose forward, and can also play at lock (he played there in his junior days), so perhaps that will help me when it comes to selection.
"I will play anywhere - wherever my country needs me - but I have to impress the coaches first, at training, and hopefully, like I said, the rest will just take care of itself," he concluded.