Springboks

Esterhuizen gets message from Springbok camp: 'Nienaber is saying I played well'

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Andre Esterhuizen (Getty)
Andre Esterhuizen (Getty)
  • Harlequins star Andre Esterhuizen received a message saying Jacques Nienaber thought he was playing well.
  • Esterhuizen has scooped three successive man-of-the-match performances in his last three games.
  • The former Sharks centre earned the last of his eight Test caps against Argentina at Loftus in 2019.

Springbok behemoth Andre Esterhuizen isn't a forgotten man after all.

The Harlequins No 12, who has scooped three successive man-of-the-match performances, says he got a message from the Springbok camp that coach Jacques Nienaber thought he was playing well.

Esterhuizen sat down with the studio panel of SuperSport's First XV programme, where he told former Springboks Joel Stransky, Hanyani Shimange and Gcobani Bobo about life in the UK.

READ | 'Agent of chaos' Andre Esterhuizen making right noises at Quins, but are they loud enough?

The former Sharks centre, who has set the English Premiership alight since moving there in 2020, recently told media he'd love to hear from the Springbok head coach.

It seems the message got to Nienaber.

"I didn't have any conversation with them for quite a while, I think, since the camps just before the British & Irish Lions series," said Esterhuizen.

"Just after this last game, I got a message that he (Nienaber) is saying that I played well.

"It's [great news]."

It seems, amid reports that the Boks could be forced to field an all-local match 23 for England later this year because of the calendar, Harlequins have encouraged Esterhuizen to covet an international recall.

Esterhuizen earned the last of his eight Test caps against Argentina at Loftus in 2019, the year he missed out on a place in Rassie Erasmus' Rugby World Cup squad.

"There are a lot of teams overseas who want to keep their players, obviously, but they want you to get into international sides as well," said Esterhuizen.

"I've gotten massive support from the coaching staff, and everyone tries to make everyone better, so we can all maybe get into an international side.

"It's everyone's dream to play for their country, and I'd love to for them again. Let's wait and see."

Things haven't always gone swimmingly for Esterhuizen up north despite his irrefutable talent.

Esterhuizen was suspended in December 2020 for four weeks after he dropped an elbow into the face of Gloucester's Lloyd Evans.

The following April, he copped a six-week ban for striking an opponent with an elbow during a scuffle in Quins' game against London Irish.

A tip-tackle on Michael Rhodes in 2015 also saw him suspended for four weeks while playing for the Sharks against the Stormers in Super Rugby.

"It was obviously a tough time," said Esterhuizen.

"The second one came towards the end of the season, and that's when we were picking up a lot of momentum, and it looked like we could make the playoffs.

"Those six weeks, I knew that if I was going to come back for the season, it was [only] for the final. I just kept on believing and trained hard for those six weeks.

"I gave inputs in training, fines meetings and stuff like that.

"I was watching the semi-final, sitting there at half-time, and it was 28-5 (to Northampton), and one of the fans came up, and he said: 'We're going to Twickenham.'

"I was thinking, what game are you watching, mate? Shortly after the second half, Harlequins started scoring tries and the more tries they scored, the more excited I got.

"We actually had a great time in that game and the next week, I didn't expect to start. I thought, hopefully I'd get a spot on the bench.

"Luckily I started the game and it [worked] out well for us."

Despite the infringements, Esterhuizen played a part in Harlequins beating Exeter 40-38 in the final to claim the Premiership last year. 

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