Bekker a big sensation in NZ
Cape Town – The Stormers’ Springbok lock Andries Bekker is a sensation in New Zealand.
Veteran writer Keith Quinn, writing in the authoritative magazine Rugby News, has likened Bekker to legendary All Black lock Colin Meads.
Meads, who is knows as Pinetree, is viewed by supporters as the best player in New Zealand’s history and was named their player of the century in 1999.
When approached for comment by Sport24, Meads said from his home in Te Kuiti in New Zealand that Bekker had impressed him.
“He’s playing very good rugby and has really come on in leaps and bounds. Andries is especially good running with the ball. The problem he has is that he has to play Victor Matfield out of the team!”
Meads added that he had generally been impressed by South Africa’s forwards in this year’s Super 14.
“They are particularly good in the lineouts and scrums, and have the other countries whacked. They’ve also got the maul working. The South African forwards are dominant.”
While Bekker has been criticised for popping up in midfield from time to time, it is that aspect of his game that prompted Quinn to liken him to Meads.
“Bekker is a man mountain at 2.08m and 118kg, but he is expanding as a playing talent all the time. Not only was he a massive influence in the lineouts, but around the midfield he played with a Meads-like imposing presence,” Quinn wrote of Bekker in commenting on an earlier performance against the Hurricanes.
He followed this up with an e-mail to Sport24 when asked to expand on his thoughts.
“His method of running with the ball and causing mayhem among the defences is reminiscent of the way I used to see Meads play. Andries is way bigger than Meads was, but in his time Meads was totally dominant as a physical presence. And that is the likeness I have noted,” said Quinn.
While South Africa have a number of talented locks, New Zealand are hoping that the injury-prone Ali Williams will be fit for next year’s World Cup.
“With the kind of form he (Bekker) showed, the big guy might become a damn nuisance for New Zealand at a higher level than Super 14,” wrote Quinn.
“Does New Zealand possess a really good huge man in the second row? Oh yes, we have Ali Williams, but …
“How good might Bekker be by World Cup time next year? How reliable will Ali Williams’ fitness be then?”