‘Surprise’ call-upfor Mostert

2011-07-26 00:00

WELLINGTON — The Springboks’ injury woes at lock have resulted in a call-up for former Sharks second-rower Gerhard Mostert. Yesterday he described his addition to South Africa’s Tri-Nations’ squad as a big surprise.

Mostert did train with the Boks before they left for the overseas leg of their Tri-Nations campaign, but he was deemed surplus to requirements.

Injuries to Johann Muller (hamstring) and Flip van der Merwe (ribs) mean that the 26-year-old Mostert received a call on Saturday telling him that his country needed him.

The imposing lock had just arrived in Paris where he had signed a two-year contract with French club side Stade Francais, but he had no hesitation hopping onto the first available plane and is now in line to win his first cap against the All Blacks in Wellington on Saturday.

“I was in Paris for five days, settling in, and I had most of my attention there getting to know the guys and then I got the call. It was a big surprise to me because I didn’t expect it at all,” he smiled.

For such a big man, Mostert speaks very softly and calmly, belying his fearsome performances on the field. The 26-year-old, who has battled a series of shoulder injuries that threatened to derail his career over the last two years, is just glad that he is able to take to the field.

“Making the Boks was never my top priority. I was just focussed on playing good rugby and getting over my injuries, so the Bok call-up was actually a bonus and reward for all the hard work and rehab,” he explained.

Mostert’s former Sharks team-mate and now Springbok team-mate, eighthman Ryan Kankowski, said he is confident that Mostert will make a big impact for South Africa.

“I loved playing with him at the Sharks and towards the end of the Super Rugby season he was playing like a machine. I’m happy he’s here, and what an opportunity for him,” Kankowski enthused.

“He’s a physical player that demolishes rucks. He’s one of those guys you want on your side.”

Kankowski’s comments elicited a chuckle from Mostert.

“I think he is exaggerating a bit, but I will do my best. At this level everyone destroys rucks!” said Mostert.

He said he hasn’t played in a while, but he is confident he is up for the challenge of playing Test rugby.

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