Strauss eager for Nonu test
London – Springbok coach Peter de Villiers calls him a “very underrated” player, but Andries Strauss will know exactly where he stands after a showdown with Ma’a Nonu in Saturday’s match against the Barbarians at Twickenham.
“It will be a big test against Nonu. I have played against him before. He’s world class and it’s nice to be able to measure yourself against a player like him. You know where you stand and what you need to work on after that,” Strauss said on Wednesday after his first training session with the Springboks.
For Strauss the training session in ice cold conditions was just another interesting episode over the course of a whirlwind 24 hours that started with the call he received at 3.30 pm on Tuesday from Springbok public relations manager Annelee Murray.
Strauss was told to get on a flight from Bloemfontein to Johannesburg at 4.30pm and travel to London from there.
He said that his first Springbok training session had gone well.
“It was quite easy to slot in. The training session was very good and the other players helped me to slot into the playing pattern,” he said.
Strauss admits that he hadn’t expected this kind of development late in the year. He had an excellent Currie Cup final for the Sharks against Western Province, but his decision to play for Free State again from next year was based on him not getting enough opportunities in Durban.
Now he’s set for his Bok debut with Jean de Villiers, Wynand Olivier and Juan de Jongh all injured.
“I never really thought it would happen, especially not considering the start we had to the Currie Cup. But we improved as the Currie Cup progressed and with the team performing well it became easier for individuals,” he said.
“Adrian Jacobs and I have often played together at the Sharks and it will make it easier to have him as my centre partner on Saturday. He has experience of test rugby and that will have a calming effect on me.”
Strauss, who is in the starting line-up with cousin Adriaan, hope this opportunity with the Boks is a pointer for the way forward.
“Hopefully this is the start of the road ahead, but I like to be in the background and do the hard work,” he said.
“The guys like Ryan Kankowski and Bismarck du Plessis can get the attention. I’m just happy to be here and to be able to play for the Boks.”