Here comes the Hoff

2014-09-10 00:00

THE Sharks have created a fair share of fairy tale returns this season and the latest is scrumhalf Conrad Hoffmann, who rejoined the side for the 2014 Currie Cup.

Hoffmann (26), who hails from the Western Cape, has had a tumultuous career marred by injury.

Starting in the Western Province junior set-up in 2006, he progressed to the senior side , making his Currie Cup debut in 2007.

He continued featuring for the senior side, making his Super Rugby debut the following year, but was then laid low by injury. For the next two years, he played Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup for Province.

In 2011 he moved to the Sharks and enjoyed a good run in the Super Rugby setup. However, the following season he fell out of favour for selection. Over the next two years, Hoffmann moved to Australia and joined the Brumbies, which he says changed his view on rugby and the world.

“I think it opened up my perspective about the game and I think in South Africa we are very fortunate with the fan base and the calibre of players we have,” he said.

“I don’t think there is something you can pinpoint [difference in methods]. It was a different coaching style over there; different atmosphere and training facilities.

“I think I’ve learned a little bit and it’s something I’d like to use in the future,” the scrumhalf said.

His return to the Sharks has been a welcome one after the loss of Charl Macleod and Cobus Reinach (Springboks).

“When Charl decided he was going oversees, the opportunity opened up for me and I got approached by the Sharks and never hesitated for a moment,” he recalls.

At the time he was even considering retiring after a back operation but recovered after surgery and said “I see myself as very fortunate to be playing again”.

He has started the last two matches for the Sharks and been working off some rust. That being said, he has looked comfortable, but conceded he is just getting back into the groove.

“It started quite slow, I think there are a lot of areas individually for me to work on but I’m just enjoying every moment,” he said.

That enjoyment may have been stymied somewhat following two losses on the trot. He believes the losses came from inaccuracies and basic errors.

“It’s a combination of factors. I think as a team, we’ve been struggling with our discipline and basics and I think that just filters through,” he said.

On a personal note, Hoffmann would like to keep improving as he makes his return to the side.

“I wouldn’t say that I am happy at this stage, but I am just trying to build; go week by week and improve the little basics that I can.

“I haven’t really played a lot in the last couple of years and the only way you can fix that is with game time — I’m very fortunate to get that at the moment,” he said.

He faces a big test against “Super” Sarel Cilliers and the Cheetahs this weekend.

“Sarel is a slippery fella, so we’d like to put some pressure on him, but we won’t want to single any particular player out,” Hoffmann said.

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