Cape Town - Stormers scrumhalf Nic Groom hopes his career
can inspire many young players to make the most of their rugby opportunities.
During the earlier years of his career, Groom struggled to
play his way into the limelight.
He enrolled at the Western Province Rugby Institute after
matriculating at Rondebosch Boys’, but failed to secure a professional contract
with the Cape union once he graduated.
He then continued his rugby at the University of Cape Town,
where he studied and played for the Varsity Cup side. With a new mindset and
outlook, new opportunities came his way.
After showcasing outstanding form during the 2010 campaign,
he found himself on the WP Under-21 side’s bench later that season and was part
of the team that won the provincial Under-21 title that same year. He also
played a key role for the Ikey Tigers during the Varsity Cup title triumph in
Five seasons later, Groom is set to play his 50th Super
Rugby match for the Stormers against the Reds at Newlands on Saturday.
“My preparations for the match remain the same. It’s just
another game and I have to make sure that I’m ready to perform. But the fact
that it’s my 50th Super Rugby cap does make me reflect on how far I’ve come,
which reminds me why I love this game,” Groom told MyPlayers.
“To be honest, I never thought I’d play 50 Super Rugby
matches for the Stormers! I never received a professional contract after
finishing at the Western Province Rugby Institute, so I thought I had to focus
on other career options.
“At UCT, my perspective about life and rugby changed, which
had a positive impact on my life. It shaped the way I saw things. I found
myself playing for the right reasons and enjoyed rugby much more.
“Next thing I knew, I received a provincial call-up to join
the Under-21s. The rest is history...”
Groom hopes his story will motivate other rugby players to
work hard, especially those who struggle to get regular opportunities.
“I never played an Under-13, Under-16 or Under-18 Craven
Week tournaments. I never played for the WP Under-19s. I had to work hard for
my opportunities. And when they came my way, I worked even harder to prove my
worth at higher levels. Every minute I got to play for Western Province or the
Stormers, I made sure I did enough to prove that I was good enough,” said Groom.
“Rugby is a very subjective sport. You need one person to
see you playing a great match. You just need one coach who believes in your
potential and your abilities. Once you have the right backing and you establish
a great work ethic, you are destined to earn the right opportunity.
“I might be one of the lucky ones, but the only reason why I
received my opportunity is because I never gave up on rugby. All my previous
disappointments shaped me into the player I am today.”
Looking ahead to this weekend, Groom believes the Stormers
are focused on returning to winning ways against the Reds following their loss
against the Lions last weekend.
“We were very disappointed with the loss against the Lions.
When we scored that amazing try through Siya Kolisi in the second half, we were
in a great position to go on and win the match. Unfortunately, we let ourselves
down with a few soft moments during the final moments,” explained Groom.
“We’ve regrouped this week and are ready to rectify our
mistakes. We are looking forward to playing another home match at Newlands in
front of a great crowd.”
15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van
Wyk, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Jean-Luc
du Plessis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Sikhumbuzo
Notshe, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Rynhardt Elstadt, 3 Frans Malherbe
(captain), 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble
Substitutes: 16 Mike
Willemse, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 JD Schickerling,
20 Schalk Burger, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Huw Jones, 23 Brandon Thomson
Karmichael Hunt, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Anthony
Fainga'a, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Curtis
Browning, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ben Matwijow, 3
Greg Holmes, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 James Slipper (captain)
16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Sef Fa'agase, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Cadeyrn Neville,
20 Michael Gunn, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Duncan Paia’aua, 23 Ayumu Goromaru
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