Durban - He turned 21 in December and his last team played in the Super Rugby final last year, but young lock Etienne Oosthuizen couldn’t be happier being back in South Africa and now with the Cell C Sharks, reports Sharks website
editor Michael Marnewick
His provincial playing career at age group level was impressive, representing the Leopards at Under-12, Under-16 and Under-18 level. He represented the Lions Under-19s and the following year, aged just 20, played Vodacom Cup, Super Rugby, Under-19 and Currie Cup in the Lions’ colours.
Last year he was drafted into the Brumbies’ squad under Jake White
and enjoyed an educational rugby year in the Australian capital.
“I spent two years with the Lions before getting the opportunity to play for the Brumbies for a year,” he explains. “But I decided to move back to South Africa to be closer to my family and here I am now, at the Sharks.”
Looking back at 2013 and his time with the Australian finalists, he says, “It was a very successful year for the Brumbies from where they started and then ended in a period of two years under Jake (They came 13th in 2011, 7th in 2012 when White took over and were finalists in 2013).
“I personally took it as a great learning opportunity, especially at such a young age, to get that kind of experience and learning from them. Although it wasn’t the best time for me to be away from family, I did take it as a learning curve for my career.”
Looking back he feels that. “They were a young team and the travel and long season possibly got to them in the end. I think their inexperience also counted against them in the final, especially with the Chiefs winning the previous year.”
But now he is back in his homeland and has signed for the Sharks and looking to make a big impact.
“It is fantastic to be back in South Africa and there is a great team environment here, everyone is comfortable with their team-mates and there is a desire to achieve something this year. The players are eager to win some titles, especially after winning the Currie Cup last year. I’m enjoying it here; I’m having the time of my life at the moment.”
His philosophy on success is a widely-held one and a very simple one, of what you put in is what you get out: “I’d say that success comes from hard work on the field, to build a base to take advantage of in the game. You don’t want to throw away all the hard work you’ve put in.”
And the team’s prospects of success this year? “The team speaks for itself with 12 or 13 Springboks,” he explains. “On paper, there is a lot of talent here and I think with the coaching structures that have been brought in together with the hard work we’re putting in on the field and the extras that get the team vibe up, I think it’s going to be a big year for us. Possibly ‘the’ year.