Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
2 minute read
30 Nov 2021
4:37 pm

Bulls hooker Grobbelaar on what he learned touring with the Boks

Ken Borland

"I was surprised and excited to be called up to the Boks and it was very nice to see how the system works."

Bulls hooker Johan Grobbelaar spent plenty of time with the Springboks during the Rugby Championship. Picture: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

Johan Grobbelaar is not exactly a seasoned hooker at just 23 years old, but he is a Springbok tourist now and is looking forward to his new-found experience rubbing off on the young pups at the Bulls who have had to hold the fort in the United Rugby Championship.

With the international season now over, national call-ups will no longer be a factor, although it is likely someone like Trevor Nyakane will be having a few weeks’ rest before joining the URC fray.

But the Bulls should be strengthened for their match against the Sharks in Durban on Friday night by the return of Grobbelaar.

The Paarl Gym product did not make it on to the field for the Springboks, but the experience gained from just being in the set-up for the Rugby Championship in Australia will have made him an even better player.

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“The thing about the Bulls is that the knowledge is passed from player to player, maybe that’s why people say Loftus is a locks factory and now it seems to be a bit of a hooker factory too,” Grobbelaar says.

“We have good hookers here now and we are putting pressure on each other as well as helping one another.

“Being with the Springboks was a very good experience. I was surprised and excited to be called up and it was very nice to see how the system works. But now I’m looking forward to playing with the Bulls and getting some game time after a long time off the field.

“The lessons I can pass on are about how small the margins are because there were three Tests we could have won, and how to vasbyt and keep your composure at the end,” Grobbelaar, whose last on-field action came on July 30 in a Currie Cup match against Western Province, said.

No-one would expect Ox Nche, Siya Kolisi, Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi or Bongi Mbonambi to turn out for the Sharks following their heroics with the Springboks, but the KwaZulu-Natal outfit could well be boosted by the inclusion of prop Thomas du Toit, scrumhalf Grant Williams and outside backs Aphelele Fassi and Sbu Nkosi, all of whom saw no action in Europe.