Cape Town - The MyPlayers website spoke to former Blue Bulls lock Wilhelm Steenkamp, who's currently based in Perth with the Western Force.
Why the move to the Force?
After eight years at the Blue Bulls, it was time for a change. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to continue playing Super Rugby at the Force.
Was it easy for you to settle in Perth?
With regards to the team environment, the Force players and management have been very welcoming. In general, Perth is a lot like South Africa, with the weather being the same, and you drive on the same side of the road. I have my wife with me and a little one on the way, who is due in April. My wife has also adapted very well, which makes life a lot easier for me.
Any culture shocks you’ve come across?
The Australian accents and lingo were tough to get used to in the beginning. Especially with a guy like Nick Cummins in your team as he speaks his own language! Every training session was… erm… interesting!
The Force seem to have a strong South African flavour…
There are eight in the team and we get along very well. It's nice to speak your own language every now and then. Sometimes we have a proper South African braai with the boys. I’m not surprised by the amount of South Africans plying their trade in Australia. Rugby is an international sport, and with all the talent in South Africa, some players get better playing in other countries.
How many South Africans have you bumped into?
Many! They like to come to the game and introduce themselves after the final whistle. It's interesting to hear their stories about why they moved to Australia and how long they have been staying here and adapted.
What are the kind of things you do during your free time?
It's nice spending time with friends. I get enough "vetkoek and mince" and "boerewors rolls" at Cape to Cairo (the South African retail shop in Perth) on Saturdays. I also go to a nearby farm to do some sheep farming, which reminds me of home.
How long do you plan on spending in Perth?
I am signed with the Force for three years. We will see what happens after that, you never know what the future holds. I’d rule out a return to South Africa, but it’s nice to experience different countries and how they play the game. The people I have met on my journey will definitely be lifelong friends.
What do you make of your brother's (De Kock Steenkamp) move to Ospreys?
I am really happy that he gets the opportunity to play overseas. I am also really glad that he has his fiancé over there with him as we Steenkamp boys are not very good in the kitchen! He’s enjoying it so far. He’s lucky there are a few Saffas to help him get around.
What would you like to get into during life after rugby?
I was born a sheep farmer! So after rugby, you will definitely find me in the Karoo where I grew up farming sheep.