100 Super caps for Terblanche

2010-04-01 00:00

STEFAN Terblanche will play in his 100th Super 14 game for the Sharks against the Reds on Saturday, and says he is still living his dream.

The former Springbok wing, who has spent most of his time at fullback since playing 37 times for the Springboks on the wing, turns 35 in July. He and John Smit are the only players to have earned 100 Super rugby caps for the Sharks.

“The excitement is there every time I take to the field,” Terblanche said yesterday. “I’m enjoying it as much now as I did when I made my debut way back in 1998. That’s something that I never want to go away.”

Terblanche has vivid memories of past matches.

“My wife can’t believe how I remember everything that has happened in my career, the results and the tries, but each game has been special for me.

“My debut was against the Auckland Blues in Durban, and it was a tough and nervous day. There were about 37 000 people in the ground and Auckland had come out of those cup-winning seasons of 1995 and 1996. My introduction to Super Rugby was against Joeli Vidiri on one wing and Jonah Lomu on the other.

“There have been many games, but that was the special one. We won 24-8, but Mac (coach Ian McIntosh) was very upset at the final whistle. There was a bouncing ball that Vidiri missed and I kicked it through for Hentie Martens to chase.

“He scored the try and then pointed to the stands. Mac said afterwards that he didn’t want any dancing or showboating like that in the team and it was unacceptable. There were no congratulations afterwards for winning. Poor Hentie just got a bit of a mouthful.”

Terblanche, who has a superb kick kick-and-chase game, was the form fullback in the Super 14 last year, and in the absence of Bok skipper John Smit and the injured Johann Muller, he enjoyed an excellent run as the Sharks captain in the Currie Cup.

While he has kept himself in excellent shape in the twilight of his career, it appears that his age played a role in him not being selected against the touring British Lions.

Terblanche said the current Sharks campaign is “uncomfortable for us because we know we have a good team, but are not playing as well as we can, as we should”.

“But we showed a lot of character turning it around the past two weeks on tour,” he added.

Terblanche described the Reds as “the most improved team in the Super 14 this year”.

“They have a hardworking pack of forwards and [Will] Genia and [Quade] Cooper are running the show from halfback. It will be tough, and we certainly won’t be underestimating them on Saturday.”

Terblanche has moved to wing in recent weeks, to cover for an injury to Odwa Ndungane and to allow coach John Plumtree to accommodate young Pat Lambie at fullback.

Terblanche described the teenager “as a wonderful talent”.

“He took the opportunity he was given with both hands and he fully deserves the fullback position. He’s a great talent who can go a long way, and to think he’s only turning 20 this year is quite scary.”

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