Ntubeni: Beyond my wildest dreams

Mon, 28 Oct 2013 17:01
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Schreuder relishing first Bok tour

Western Province hooker Siyabonga Ntubeni is on cloud nine after his surprise inclusion in the Springbok squad for the end-of-tour to Europe.

The diminutive 22-year-old, affectively known as “Scarra”, was the big bolter in Heyneke Meyer’s 32-man squad for the November internationals against Wales, Scotland and France.

Ntubeni was the form hooker of the Currie Cup competition and was acknowledged as the player of the Month for September.

However, at just 1.74m and 100kg, Ntubeni doesn’t cut the physical mould of the typical international hooker and his roaming style isn’t suited for the wet European conditions.

While Ntubeni isn’t the finished article, Meyer has identified the youngster’s potential and has rewarded him with his first call-up to the Springbok squad, where he’s bound to benefit from the mentorship of stalwarts and vice-captains Bismarck du Plessis and Adriaan Strauss.

“Words cannot describe my feelings at the moment,” an elated Ntubeni said following Monday’s squad announcement.

“It really is beyond my wildest dreams. I’d like to thank everyone at Western Province - my teammates and coaches - and I look forward to joining my WP mates in the Bok squad.”

The East London-born hooker is one of eight Western Province players and four uncapped rookies in the touring party.

His teammate Louis Schreuder finds himself in the same situation - behind Fourie du Preez and Ruan Pienaar in the scrumhalf pecking order.

The 23-year-old, who has been part of the wider Springbok squad before, had an ill-timed off day in Saturday’s Currie Cup Final against the Sharks at Newlands but was nevertheless selected ahead of Jano Vermaak and Piet van Zyl’s, who made their Test debuts earlier this year, one-Test Springbok Charl McLeod, Cobus Reinach and Sarel Pretorius.    

Schreuder said he’s looking forward to his first overseas tour with the national side. “I was fortunate enough to be a part of the squad in June and it was an incredible experience for me. I am over the moon with my selection and cannot wait to experience my first tour abroad with the Springboks,” said Schreuder.