Pretoria - Former Springbok captain and current Bulls hooker Adriaan Strauss is set to make his 10s rugby debut at the Beachcomber World Club 10s in Mauritius next week.
Strauss, who led the Boks in 2016, will not play for his province at the tournament, but rather for the Africa Pacific Dragons (APD) under the coaching tutelage of former Boks Jaco van der Westhuyzen and Victor Matfield.
The likeable hooker is naturally excited about the prospect of playing 10s, when he runs out at the Anjalay Stadium on June 17 and 18, but admits the format is new to him.
“To be honest, I’m not as clued up with how 10s works as I probably should be, but I’m looking forward to playing and learning about it,” Strauss said.
“I'm competitive by nature, and so are all the players in the elite teams competing, so I know that when we get there and are thrown into a match situation, those competitive juices will flow.
“We all want to win and while we are playing it will be serious on the pitch. But I suppose that off the field, it will be a slightly more relaxed environment.
“I believe we are all staying at the same Beachcomber hotel, and that will give us a chance to mingle socially - something that hardly happens in professional rugby these days.
“It’s also going to be different for me, because for eight years I was preparing for a Test match series in June, and now I’m heading off to Mauritius. Obviously the stakes are not as high at the 10s, but it’s still going to be hugely competitive.”
The APD team also includes Springbok wing Cornal Hendricks, who is continuing his journey back to top-flight rugby following a long lay-off due to a serious heart condition.
The squad will also feature two Kenyan sevens stars Andrew Amonde and Billy Ohdiambo.
“It’s going to be interesting playing alongside those speedsters and trying to keep up,” Strauss said. “Fortunately the game is only 10 minutes long and there are scrums and lineouts, where I might come into my own.”
The APD are drawn in Pool A of the two day even where they will play defending champions, the Western Force, the Kubota Spears from Japan and England’s Harlequins.
The Beachcomber World Club 10s is fully sanctioned by World Rugby, Rugby Afrique and Rugby Union Mauritius.