Stegmann destined to be a Bok

JJ Harmse

Pretoria – Those in the know in and around Cradock, have been saying it for years…that boy of Coligny and Ronelle Stegmann will be a Springbok one day.

Hopefully these brainy people are also rain forecasters and harvest experts, because they were right: Gideon Johannes Stegmann is now a Bok!

The 24-year-old Blue Bulls flank was included in the Bok tour group, which leaves for Ireland on Wednesday, after Schalk Burger was withdrawn from the tour due to a chest injury.

It is likely that Stegmann will wear the number six jersey in the first Test.

The shy Karoo boy was disappointed at first on Saturday when his name was not announced, especially as he had started rubbing shoulders with the larger Bok training group in Johannesburg last week.

This has now changed to joy, but according to Stegmann, who after a brilliant Super 14 this year and played little Currie Cup rugby due to a thigh injury, there is not much time for euphoria because Ireland is waiting.

"I don't know yet where I fit in, but I'm ready for anything. I do see it as the next phase of my career but I know it's important not to lose sight of what brought me here," he said openly.

Stegmann's inclusion in the Bok team wasn't coincidental, several excellent seasons with the Bulls will testify to this.

He was named the team's forward of the year in 2008 and was a key player in 2009 and 2010.

"This year's rule change at the breakdown did initially cause problems but it was more because the referees didn't immediately enforce it the same way.

“I set myself the goal to concede fewer penalty kicks, to be fitter than the next guy and started focusing on learning to read the referees and adapt my game accordingly."

"I am very proud of not having conceded a single penalty kick in the final of the Super 14," said  Stegmann regarding his adaptations this year.

He has been on a schools rugby tour in England but doesn't know much about possible opponents or playing conditions.

"I know it will be cold and more physical due to the weather conditions but I'm ready. At the Bulls you are told all the time that you have to become fitter and stronger every year."

Stegmann, who has the best time of 10.9sec over the 100m, has become the 36th Bok from Grey College.

He is also one of nine players in the current group to have matriculated from Grey.

The others are Coenie Oosthuizen, Adriaan Strauss, CJ van der Linde, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Flip van der Merwe, Ruan Pienaar and Frans Steyn.
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