'Rotten' Sias spits the dummy
Departing Cheetahs flyhalf Sias Ebersohn said he was 'rotting' on the Cheetahs bench and unfulfilled promises of game time forced him to move abroad.
The 23-year-old Ebersohn, twin brother of Cheetahs centre and Sevens Springbok Robert, signed a two-year contract with the Perth-based Force.
His contract with the Force has him down as their 'foreign developing player', which indicates that he wants to play for Australia.
Ebersohn, speaking to the Bloemfontein-based radio station OFM, admitted that while he still had dreams of becoming a Springbok, he might now have to change his ambitions to include the gold jumper of Australia.
"Yes, I do still have Springbok aspirations, every players has such dreams from a young age," he told the radio station.
However, he felt that the lack of game time in Bloemfontein means he can't realise his dreams. "You don't become a Bok off the bench, so hopefully I can still do it from there [Perth], but if that doesn't materialise the next dream would be to play for Australia."
Ebersohn also felt the Cheetahs had not lived up to their end of the bargain, as he was promised more game time than what he received. He said the result was that he was getting rotten ("vrot") on the bench.
"It is a sad episode," he told OFM, adding: "I have been in Bloemfontein my entire life [23 years].
"At some stage you have to make a decision about your future and clearly Bloemfontein is no longer the solution in terms of my rugby.
"I have waited a long time for a chance, I got a chance last year and I feel I used that well. This year [Johann] Goosen came on the scene and when he went off [injured] they put Riaan Smit ahead of me.
"The three years that I played here [in the senior ranks in Bloemfontein] I never competed against him [Smit], it was Johann [Goosen] and myself, then suddenly they gave him a shot.
"It seems that the chances that other players are given, were never given to me that quickly.
"I had to constantly prove myself, where other players in other positions keep getting chance after chance.
"The most important is that I need game time. I am a person that sets high goals for myself and it's sad to depart, but at some point you have to look at yourself."
Ebersohn said he remains available for the Currie Cup season and only heads to Perth at the end of the year. "My contract there [at the Force] allows me to return to come play Currie Cup rugby again here [next year], should the Cheetahs be interested in my services."
He said it would be sad if the Cheetahs did not use him during the forthcoming Currie Cup season, because of his decision to take up the Perth offer.
"It isn't in my hands," he said, when asked about future selection prospects in Bloemfontein now that he departure is all out in the open.
"I am not the coach and it was always the decision of [backline coach] Hawies [Fourie] and [head coach] Naka [Drotské]. As a player I will always give my best and this move won't influence the way I play. I am available if they want to user me. It would be disappointing if they say 'you are leaving' and we are no longer interested."
Asked about his poor form this season, Ebersohn admitted he was not up to the same standards as last year, but put it down to a lack of game time.
"I had high expectations of the season, and things didn't always go as I wanted them to go.
"But there were promises were made of playing time that I would get and that never materialised.
"[Johan] Goosen had a good season and you can't begrudge him that.
"It doesn't help you are a player that plays to enjoy the game. I am a player who plays not for money, but rather to enjoy the game and improve. [However], you can never get better unless you are backed and you improve on the field - you don't get any better off the field.
"Luckily this lesson has happened early in my career and I can learn from it when I come through it. It happens to plenty of players. [Springbok and Bulls flyhalf] Morné Steyn has had - by his standards - one of the poorest kicking seasons of his career, but he still plays and the team still backs him.
"Every weekend there is another game, so it doesn't help that you sit in a heap and cry about one error.
"I feel I was never played enough to get my selfconfidence on a high and see the opportunities on the field.
"[Without getting that game time] you get rusty, you get 'vrot'. That [by playing] is the only way regain your form and that was the big problem for me this season."
He said he was not planning to leave the Cheetahs, but the Force approached him and it was hard to turn them down.
"I never spoke to them first. They said they think I am a good player and they want me as their No.1 flyhalf. I made sure that is the case. What player in my position wouldn't grab that opportunity to be a first choice and get game time... why would he stay where he isn't being used?"
He said the decision was purely a career decision and nothing personal.
"I am not upset with the Free State [Rugby Union officials]. I learnt a lot in my time here, and not just on the field, but life lessons as well, especially from Hawies [Fourie]... not just rugby, about life as well.
"My time here was good, but there were many decisions that should have gone my way, many team selections that went against me.
"You get to a stage where you need those things to go for you. You can't prove to anybody how good you are if you sit on the bench all the time."