Strauss heaps praise on cousin Richardt

Mon, Nov 12, 2012, 00:00

SOUTH AFRICA REACTION:Richardt Strauss will never forget his first moment in the international spotlight but just in case there should be plenty of physical scars slashed across his body as a reminder.

Nobody could forget such a unique occasion anyway. First cap for your adopted country and it comes against your native land with your cousin leading the charge of South Africans.

They got him early. In the third minute he needed treatment for a badly bloodied mouth, but the Leinster man kept coming back for more. Eventually, in the 75th minute, the son of Pretoria hobbled from the field.

Ironically, he earned the right to own a Springbok hooker’s jersey. It’s not his but he must have known from a very young age that the dark green jersey would be in the Strauss family.

It was so obvious that he became a fetcher – in the Heinrich Brussow mould – until, finally, the opportunity arose to shift into the front row.

It happened when Adriaan Strauss, the Springbok vice-captain, signed for the Blues out of Grey College. Richardt, a year younger, went to the local Cheetahs franchise.

It didn’t last long though. Adriaan returned a fully developed hooker who only climbed up the convoluted South African hooking ladder this year due to Bismarck du Plessis’ injury.

Richardt saw the writing on the wall from a long way out but he still believed he was good enough to play international rugby. Now he has the proof. We also know exactly why he left South Africa. Adriaan is a stone heavier and four inches taller. And size matters in South Africa even more than most places.

“I must say the day that Richardt left I actually knew he was going to play for Ireland,” said Adriaan. “He is a hard worker and left with one thing in mind; to play international rugby. Ya, he deservedly played his first Test today but I think it was a long time coming.”

It is Adriaan’s fault he had to leave. His beefy frame was always blocking the road.

“I wouldn’t say I was in his way but it was tough times. There are a lot of hookers in South Africa the last couple of years and I think he made the right decision and I think he is going to play a lot of Tests, and good Tests as well.

“He is a quality player and will always be a loss to South African rugby. I think the Irish are very lucky to have him. He is an excellent player and a team man. They will enjoy him a lot as a person as well. Awesome guy.”

Adriaan’s ability to lead was needed in the opening 40 minutes when Ireland dominated possession and territory to take a 12-3 lead and it was evident in his constant cajoling at every break in play as the tide turned in the second half.

The leadership of Jean de Villiers was also clear to see.

“The easy part of representing your country, and us representing the Springboks, is being selected,” said the former Munster centre. “The difficult thing is to put up a performance that is really worthy of the Springbok jersey. And the first-half just wasn’t. The response we got from the team was fantastic.

“At the start of this tour I said we really need to take it to the next level and we did in that second half.” They needed to become Springboks. Once that happens they become a juggernaut. It proved unstoppable.

Head coach Heyneke Meyer refused to reveal what he said to them at half-time as it was so explicit but essentially he was disgusted.

“Although we will take a lot from this game I still believe we need to keep our feet on the ground,” said Meyer. “We must be humble because we were probably lucky in the second half as well. But stay humble, Scotland is waiting. We’d love to stay unbeaten but we don’t want to be arrogant. Scotland is a great team.”

They don’t want to be arrogant and Scotland is by no means a great team. On they go with no real lesson given to them.

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