Alberts v Elstadt: 1-ton duel

2012-05-24 12:10

Cape Town - It is hardly a major secret that Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer favours brawny customers who thrive on physicality at blindside flank.

This is reflected to a good degree in the names he issued this week for a latest, 42-strong Springbok training group.

I am quite open to correction, but the order in which the loose forwards were named seemed to suggest fairly strongly that the Sharks pair of Willem Alberts and Jean Deysel (the former starts in the home Super Rugby derby against the Stormers on Saturday) are closest to the front of his mind for No 7 as things stand.

My understanding is also that Meyer is rightly worried about how various nuggety, conventional open-siders in South Africa and more broadly appear to be “targeted” by referees just because of who they are, any constructive poaches by them occasionally being negated by the accompanying volume of penalties against them for perceived indiscretions.

So he is not against moves by some franchises to field taller, yet still suitably mobile timber - players like CJ Stander of the Bulls and the Sharks’ Marcell Coetzee - on the open-side even if their roots do not lie in that specific area.

Revealingly, the Sharks have now stationed Coetzee at No 6 against the Stormers for the big clash at Mr Price Kings Park, with the more obviously heavy-duty Alberts, whose season had hitherto been curtailed by a niggling shoulder problem, getting a welcome start at blindside.

John Plumtree’s decision is likely to carry the enthusiastic blessing of the Bok mastermind, who appeared to list the dynamic, youthful Coetzee among his No 6s for the camp.

In what is highly likely to be a typically hard-as-nails derby, Alberts against Rynhardt Elstadt, the similarly bruising Stormers utility forward, in the battle of the blindsiders ought to be something to savour.

Certainly the more faint at heart might be advised to give this potential crash of freight trains a miss, and go and play the piano or water the plants come 19:10 on Saturday.

The abrasive style of the 119kg Alberts, who relishes crunching hits, is already well-known at all levels of the game - not for nothing is he nicknamed “The Bone Collector”.

But his rival No 7, Elstadt, who might be branded “The Mauler from Montagu” if you seek some kind of gung-ho counter, similarly loves the heat of the kitchen.

Elstadt did not make the Bok camp cut, but that may be partly because the 22-year-old is gradually finding his feet again back in the position after spending last year’s Super Rugby campaign as commendably efficient second-row partner for Andries Bekker.

The 2012 season has carried strangely mixed blessings thus far for Elstadt, whose lock credentials have inevitably taken a knock through the truly stellar emergence of Eben Etzebeth in the No 4 shirt.

But he has managed to stay an essential component in the starting mix anyway, considering the injury jinx at loose forward which has allowed his versatility to be very gratefully seized upon at No 7.

After an understandably moderate start to his return chapter as a loose forward, Elstadt appears to be going from strength to strength in the role now -- to such an extent that a firebrand showing at Mr Price Kings Park might yet see him fast-tracked into Bok plans.

At 118kg himself and 1.96m tall, he fulfils many of Meyer’s requirements for a blind-sider.

“Rynhardt has done an outstanding job for us (in that position),” Stormers coach Allister Coetzee enthused to Sport24 this week.

“It helps that he’s played there before, though last season we just felt he’d be better utilised as a front lock with his aggression, hitting of rucks and agility in the lineout.

“Ball-carrying, close targets ... he really did well last year. But when we were under pressure with loosie injuries this time, we knew we could bank on Rynhardt. He’s the sort of guy who would run at a wall if you told him to; he has a high pain threshold.

“With continual play back at No 7, he’s improved tremendously as the season’s gone on and he gives our squad the sort of versatile value someone like Danie Rossouw gave (to the Bulls and Springboks).”

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing


  • LaBlue - 2012-05-24 12:17

    Alberts het nie 'n goeie seisoen nie. Elstedt sal hom breek soos dinge op die oomlik lyk.

      Harold - 2012-05-24 13:13

      No contest. Go Willem!!!

      Tokolos - 2012-05-24 13:20

      Agreed Harold!

      hvanderlinde - 2012-05-24 15:09

      Does anyone remember how the enforcer faired against rocky last year?

      Harold - 2012-05-24 15:22


      hvanderlinde - 2012-05-24 15:26

      Pity, that would've swung your vote of confidence the other way

      Harold - 2012-05-24 15:44

      I doubt it.

      hvanderlinde - 2012-05-25 08:02

      Don't be so naive Harold, any old dog can be taught new tricks

  • Stormkaap - 2012-05-24 12:18

    Alberts is a seasoned campaigner already and Elstadt a rookie, but tough nevertheless

      Citizen - 2012-05-24 13:48

      Doesnt matter who's better they are both brilliant and if Willem is injured for the Boks who knows maybe Elstadt gets the nod, our depth at 6and 7 is excellent..Go Sharks!

      Stormkaap - 2012-05-24 19:38

      I would play Kolisi ahead of Elstadt.

      Lance - 2012-05-25 10:28

      Argue all you like folks, Im happy to be a Bok supporter because 1st choice....2nd choice..3rd all equally as good/or debatable when you consider current fitness, form and hunger each player might have in order to make an impact..With the short notice the guys have to prepare as a Bok team its going to be tricky for a player to shine if he isnt used to the speed and style the of the team-mate alongside him(..from another province) .Its all getting exciting..Go Stormers ! Go Boks !

  • Anele - 2012-05-24 12:30

    got my tickets ready....cant wait for the big game :-) lambie vs aplon, elstadt vs alberts, mvovo & jp vs habana and ghost, so many match-ups i cant wait to see!! def gonna be the game of the week!!!!

      steyts - 2012-05-24 12:49

      And all of that will be spoiled by the mauling of Brok Harris at the hands of Tendai "BEAST" Mtawarira!!! Stormers should start with Malherbe but since the team is already picked that won't happen... I hope Brok can at least just stand his ground otherwise this might get messy!!! Stormers groete!!

      Harold - 2012-05-24 13:35

      Brok spends more time with hands on the ground than anything else.

  • Hans - 2012-05-24 12:35

    "A" for Alberts.

  • Edward - 2012-05-24 12:42

    Elstadt is very unlucky not to make the final bok camp, he is the ideal oke to provide cover on flank and lock. One of the form loosies this season, Heineke missed a trick. He will prove himself again on Saturday. GO STORMERS!!!

  • John - 2012-05-24 12:42

    Elkstad will not stand back - this I can tell you. Everybody who cares to write about the game seems to think the Sharks will win physical battle and the game. Perhaps they have forgotten about the last time they played the Stormers. The Stormers (like most of their games) should have won by a lot more given they dominated the Sharks pack. In fact the Sharks looked shell shocked. The Sharks have not won this game just yet!

      Edward - 2012-05-24 12:55

      Hey John, I agree with you, the Stormers have been underestimated so much this season, but look where they are on the log. Everyone feared for the Sharks, Bulls,Crusaders,Cheetahs and Warathas, But the Stormers came up trumps everytime.

      Dirk - 2012-05-24 13:10

      Yes John, but they didn't forget, they remembered. I can't see how the Stomers will beat the Sharks by 3 points again. 4 tries and a 15 point margin of victory sounds about right this time. Stormers!!

      steyts - 2012-05-24 16:15

      Nog nie Raven maar soos wat die pink koei briggade hier aangegaan het vir die enkele week wat hulle bo aan die log was sou mens gedink het daai beker is al vas gespyker in Moftus se kabinet... Not quite!! Die SA conference is 'n oop "3 horse race" en die volgende twee naweke gaan vir ons 'n baie beter idee gee van wie dit gaan vat!! As die bulls en stormers verloor dan is daar 3 spanne maar 2 of 3 punte uitmekaar uit!! Al wat ek se is net EK KAN NIE MEER WAG NIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! KAN HULLE NIE NOU AFSKOP NIE?????????????????????????????

  • Pierre - 2012-05-24 13:04

    Both these flankers aren't the fastest blindside flankers on the field.. But as said in the article they are both extremely hard!!! Alberts is struggling with form, and Elstadt has been doing a good job for the Stormers.. Feel this one will go for the tough man from Stormers!!! Go Elstadt!!!!

      Luke - 2012-05-24 18:12

      you might of read Alberts is coming off a shoulder injury the main part of the body used in collisions

  • Nathan - 2012-05-24 13:08

    All this reshuffling isn't gonna do the Sharks any favors

      Pierre - 2012-05-24 13:09

      Have to agree Nathan.. Sharls have been looking good the past few weeks. Why would you change the winning combination.

      steyts - 2012-05-24 16:20

      It might be for the very reason that Elstadt is extremely physical along with Etsebeth... Maybe Plumtree feels that he needs a bit more grunt up front!! Don't know why because the SS Bismarck and the beast was incredible last weekend vs the cheetahs!! And don't forget about Marcell Coetsee! What a rugby player that man is!!

  • Maxine - 2012-05-24 13:21

    The one thing Elstad may offer that Alberts and Deysel do not, is a line out option. That is why Heyneke favours Duane Vermuelen

  • Eduard - 2012-05-24 13:25

    That's it, keep betting against the Stormers coming up short! Next week will be the same.

  • Enrico Capazorio - 2012-05-24 14:08

    Its always heartening to see such a huge interest in any stories regarding the Stormers from the so-called supporters from other teams. Must be because they are top of the log and the articles about their teams are so boring. Yawn.

  • ruhan.vandermerwe - 2012-05-24 16:03

    the first time i met Elstadt was in 2010 he had no part of the stormers campaign but let me tell you this guy is the real deal and he does have a sort of Danie Rossouw feel to him, they should give him a run in the bok jersey even as a sub his versatility would make him a great impact player

      Bootman - 2012-05-24 17:13

      Fake Johan jy moet jou broek aftrek as rugby kyk want dit lyk my jou oe sit in jou g@t ou perd.

  • Jacobus - 2012-05-24 17:32

    go elstadt, jy is jonk, maar jy gaan baas wees, go stormerssssssssssssssssssssssss

  • cavin.snyman - 2012-05-24 18:15

    It is a game with plenty of talent but the Sharks are hungry and Alberts will have a point to prove. It is not just the Shark and Bull supporters saying the Sharks will win, some Stormer supporters also fear that it is going to happen. Then there is also the professionals saying so. Roll on Saturday so that the unbelievers can be showed the error of their ways. SHARKS forever!!!!

  • micheal.moolman - 2012-05-26 14:00

    There's no contest, Elsedt has as much finess on a rugby field as a brain damaged dung beetle.

  • - 2012-05-29 15:05

    I have no opinion on who should play on the flank positions in the Bok team, and I'm sure Heyneke Meyer knows what he is doing.. However, if Bryan Habana is selected on the wing again, I will seize to support the Boks. He has become a liability, and is one of the lowest try scorers in Super Rugby! Even a tight head prop from the lowly Cheetahs has scored an equal number of tries to Habana. If we want the Boks to beat England, we need try scorers!

      Hans - 2012-05-30 11:33

      Yip, 1 Movo = 4 Habanas. His time is up, but he will milk it offcourse, and it seems the selectors / coaches are to short sighted to see the truth.

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