Ebersohns: Double trouble in Perth

Tue, 19 Mar 2013 09:20
Large ebersohn twins630 Large sias ebersohn force looks Large robert ebersohn ball 630 Large robert ebersohn gap630

The Ebersohn twins, Sias and Robert, go head-to-head for the first time on Saturday. Jan de Koning chats to Hawies Fourie about the momentous occasion.

The Ebersohn twins, Sias and Robert, will go head-to-head for the first time in their senior careers - and probably their rugby playing lives - when the Western Force host the Cheetahs in Perth on Saturday.

Other than perhaps a few backyard games and their well-documented Playstation rivalry, these two have been virtually inseparable - till this year.

Sias, 35 seconds older than Robert, took up an offer to join the Force in Perth, after a rather scratchy 2012 Super Rugby season with the Bloemfontein-based Cheetahs.

If their first ever 'duel' is anything as heated as their off-field rivalry, then Saturday's face-off (even though they won't be direct opponents) will be a real treat.

Cheetahs backline coach Hawies Fourie is very familiar with the skillsets of the two talented 24-year-olds and he is adamant the improved form of the Force in their last two matches - when they ran the Bulls close and then beat the Reds last Saturday - has a lot to do with Sias starting at flyhalf.

"The game against the Bulls impressed me with the way they played," Fourie told this website in an interview from the Cheetahs training base in Sydney - they are only flying to Perth on Thursday.

"Against the Bulls they [the Force] were very good and the Bulls had to work very hard to get back in that game - it was two powerful mauls that got them [the Bulls] back in the game.

"The Force showed at Loftus that they have a very physical set of forwards and strong-running backs."

But it was the 'elder' of the Ebersohn twins that really impressed Fourie.

"Sias [Ebersohn] played very well, his tactical kicking was outstanding and his goal-kicking was also great," the Cheetahs assistant coach told this website.

"He was the link they needed. The other flyhalf they used [Sam Christie in the 23-30 loss to the Rebels and 10-22 defeat to the Kings] didn't do very well.

"However, Sias brings great variation to their game - he is a great distributor.

"Along with [New Zealand scrumhalf] Alby Mathewson, the two of them are the players making the difference in that team."

Obviously there is Sias Ebersohn's well-documented loss of form in 2012, which started with a horrendous missed kick from right in front of the posts that arguably cost his team the game against the Highlanders.

However, his move to Perth seems to have revived his career and this week he comes face-to-face with his twin in a competitive match for the first time.

"It will be similar to the media hype round Sarel [Pretoria] in the build-up to our game against the Waratahs this past weekend," Fourie said, when asked about the twins' much-anticipated showdown.

"The Australian media wrote a lot about Sarel, because of his connection with the Waratahs the previous year. They made a big effort to put pressure on Sarel through the media.

"It [Sias playing against his former team, the Cheetahs] will no doubt be a major topic for debate," the Cheetahs backline coach told this website, adding: "Added to that is the fact that Sias and Robert [Ebersohn] will face each other.

"As far as I am aware it has never happened before - that will no doubt be a big debate."

The Ebersohn twins are the sons of Tiaan Ebersohn, a centre who played for the Free State and Western Province.

They were born and raised in Bloemfontein, and schooled at Grey College.

There they climbed the ranks and eventually presented the Free State schools team at Craven Week. They were also chosen to represent South Africa at the IRB Junior World Championship.

Robert's progress has been slightly quicker than Sias - with the former having played for the South African Sevens team.

Fast facts:

Full name: Josias Mathiem Ebersohn
Date of birth: 23 February 1989 (age 24)
Place of birth: Bloemfontein, South Africa
Height: 1.76 m (5 ft 9 1/2 in)
Weight: 83 kg (13 st 1 lb)
School: Grey College, Bloemfontein
University: University of the Free State
Playing career
Position: Flyhalf
Provincial/State sides
Years: Club / team: Caps: (points)
2008-2012: FS Cheetahs 52 (197)
Super Rugby
Years: Club / team Caps (points)
2010-2012: Cheetahs 31 (220)
2013- Western Force: 4 (30)
Full name: Robert Thompson Ebersohn
Date of birth: 23 February 1989 (age 24)
Place of birth: Bloemfontein, South Africa
Height: 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Weight: 88 kg (13 st 12 lb)
School: Grey College, Bloemfontein
Playing career
Position: Outside Centre
Provincial/State sides
Years: Club / team Caps (points)
2008-present: FS Cheetahs 61 (50)
Super Rugby
Years: Club / team Caps (points)
2010-present: Cheetahs 45 (45)

By Jan de Koning

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Team P W D L Pts
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Sharks 1 0 0 1 1
Bulls 0 0 0 0 0
Jaguares 2 0 0 2 0