Bright future for UCT's Brache
Cape Town – Marcel Brache was still playing social rugby for the Ikey Tornadoes in the University of Cape Town’s internal league last year, but on Friday night he will step into Bryan Habana’s boots on the left wing for Western Province in their friendly match against the Griffons in Welkom.
“The Tornadoes are more interested in beer than anything else. We saw them messing around on the field one day and noticed that Marcel had very good feet, so asked him to come and train with the Varsity Cup side,” said John Dobson, who coached Brache at the University of Cape Town.
It’s unlikely that the 22-year-old Brache will regularly play for WP in the Currie Cup this year, but his performances at centre for the Ikeys and Frans Steyn-style kicking boot point to a bright future.
“Marcel’s story is an inspiration for the common man because he did not come through an academy. He was a very good cricketer at school and played second team rugby,” said Dobson of the young man born is Los Angeles.
Dobson was slightly worried about how Brache would cope in a training game against the Stormers earlier this year, but the Ikey made 16 tackles.
What can we expect from him on the wing?
“He can play, centre, fullback and wing. Wing is probably the position he’s least suited to. He has very good acceleration, but does not have blistering pace. However, it’s the perfect way of getting him into the system,” said Dobson.
Dobson said that Brache had always managed to more than meet expectations, though the player turned down the opportunity of linking up with the Springbok sevens squad earlier this year as he felt he was not ready and did not want to stop his studies in social sciences.
“It’s the right thing to get Marcel in the system and he will need a competition or two to find his feet and get his conditioning right. But every time we were worried about him at Ikeys, he ended up delighting us,” said Dobson.
“He reminds me of where Tim Whitehead was a year ago. His running lines, footwork and defence are similar. His footwork, in particular, is a strength.”
Friday night’s game is mostly about WP preparing for their first Currie Cup outing against Free State on July 10.
At the same time WP coach Allister Coetzee is keen to build on his depth and that is why the performances of the likes of Brache, Whitehead and Rynhardt Elstadt will be closely monitored.
Another Varsity Cup star – Maties centre Charl Weideman – has been picked on the Griffons’ bench. He wants to use the opportunity at the Griffons to win a contract at Free State and is looking forward to some game time in the second half against WP.
“We are certainly the underdogs, but that is why we have a point to prove,” said Weideman.
“You measure yourself against teams like WP.”
Ruan Lamprecht, Jaco Meyer, Werner Griesel, Thabang Molefe, Eddie Fredericks, Jannie Myburgh, Enrico Schultz; Nicky Steyn (captain), Marnus Briedenhann, Johan Wessels, Joubert Horn, Rudi Mathee, Sarel Louw, Derick van Heerden, Petros Methula
Substitutes: Hercholl Johnson, Sewes Oosthuizen, Kevin Stevens, Willie Britz, Windpomp van Rooyen, Tertius Maarman, Charl Weideman
Conrad Jantjes, Fabian Juries, Tim Whitehead, Paul Bosch, Marcel Brache, Willem de Waal, Dewaldt Duvenage, Duane Vermeulen, Rynhard Elstadt, Pieter Louw, Anton van Zyl (captain), Adriaan Fondse, Brok Harris, Tiaan Liebenberg, Wicus Blaauw
Substitutes: Deon Fourie, JD Moller, JC Kritzinger, Martin Muller, Pieter Myburgh, Conrad Hoffmann, Lionel Cronjé, Morgan Newman
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe