Rugby World Cup 2011
Werner dreams of a RWC spot
Werner Kruger (Gallo Images)
Sydney - There are probably a number of words that could be used to describe Werner Kruger: Quiet, strong, tower of strength. And after Saturday: Springbok prop.
And according to Kruger's regular Bulls-roommate, Derick Kuun, the words describing Kruger best are: Team man.
"Werner is a real friend, he walks the straight and narrow road, and is someone you could always depend on," says Kuun.
Kruger has also received praise from an unexpected source. The former Cheetahs-prop and national tighthead-mentor, Dougie Heymans, says his biggest wish is to take Kruger under his wing and give him a few tips. "He's going to become a great Springbok," says Heymans.
Kruger himself remains quite low key about his own ability, despite already having two Super Rugby winners' accolades.
"Oh well, you always just give your best every time you play and try and do what's best for the team. If people from outside the team environment spots what you do, then I guess it's a compliment, but that's not the motivation. The most important thing is to be able to look your teammates in the eyes after every game," says the former Jeugland High School pupil.
Kruger is young for a scrum ace and could still walk a long road with the Boks.
The Springbok coach, Peter de Villiers, already chose him for the Emerging Springboks against the British and Irish Lions in 2009, and told Sport24 last year that he was keeping an eye on Kruger with the World Cup in mind.
It was thus not such a big surprise when he was called up into the Springbok squad in November last year for their game against the British Barbarians.
"That was a good 15 minutes for me," said Kruger, describing his Bok debut.
At the Bulls, Kruger almost always wins the team prize for the most ruck clean-outs. He boasts an impressive average of 23 clean-outs per game.
Add to that a couple of bullocking runs, some silky distribution skills good enough to make many a centre look average and some decent right shoulders at scrum time - and you'll understand just why Kruger is so excited about receiving his Test-cap after Saturday's game.
"It will help that teammates like Dean (Greyling), Flip (van der Merwe), Steggies ( Deon Stegmann) and Dana (Danie Rossouw) are also amongst the forward pack, because we have been playing together long and know each other really well."
Kruger dreams of playing in the World Cup and he wants to show in Australasia that he deserves a permanent place in the Bok side.