Van Velze's English evolution

Sun, 20 Jul 2014 12:59
Large gerrit jan van velze

Gerrit-Jan van Velze is on his way to Worcester Warriors for the new season but is still grateful for what he has learnt from his departing club, Northampton.

Gerrit-Jan van Velze is on his way to Worcester Warriors for the new season but is still grateful for what he has learnt from his departing club, Northampton.
 
The former SA under-20 captain was part of the Bulls Super Rugby team from 2010 to 2012 but then left for England at then end of the season.
 
However, since making the trip up north, the versatile loose forward has been somewhat of a success in a successful team.
 
He has enjoyed many special occasions in his time at Franklin’s Gardens, but he departs the current Premiership Champions in search of more game time.
 
“I still speak to them [Saints team mates] every week because they helped a lot with my transition, from being this naive Afrikaans boy moving to England, they helped me a lot,” says van Velze, who went on to make 31 appearances for Saints, scoring five tries.
 
“There was an uncertainty about it [the start to his Saints career], which got to me, but as soon as you start playing rugby that all goes away and you have something to look forward to every weekend.
 
“I had a bit of a reality check in my first pre-season with [performance director] Nick [Johnston], which didn’t make it easy, but then we started playing rugby and every single moment I spent on the pitch was brilliant.”
 
Eventually, though, van Velze found himself having to get used to life outside of the first-team picture with the Saints.
 
The start of his second and final season at the club saw him more as a squad member rather than part of the first team as Sam Dickinson came back from the arm injury that ruled him out of the previous campaign.
 
Dickinson’s form, allied with the continual blockbusting brilliance of Samu Manoa, made the No.8 shirt hard to come by, leading Van Velze to look towards Worcester.
 
“Being a squad player is a difficult thing to be branded and it is possibly the last thing any rugby player wants to be called because we always want to challenge ourselves to the best of our ability,” said the 26-year-old.
 
“I came in to play rugby and things didn’t go my way at the start of last season.
 
“Credit to Sam, he played some great rugby whenever he had the opportunity and was rewarded with the England Saxons call up.
 
“He did really well and there just came a time where I had to make a decision on whether I would stay and wait longer for an opportunity or whether I go somewhere else where I get a different challenge and a fresh start.
 
“Speaking to [Worcester boss] Dean Ryan, I was really intrigued the first time I met him. He’s one of those people you like to impress.
 
“He makes a statement and he’s got a real presence. I enjoyed meeting up with him for the first time.”
 
Now van Velze will look to adapt to a different challenge, Warriors are on the other end of the scale to Saints - they will be looking to their new loose forward to help them remain in the English elite competition.
 
But he will still be keeping a close eye on his old club as they bid to back up a season which ended with Premiership glory.
 
“I’ll be watching them in the Premiership weekly, following the boys and cheering them on,” said van Velze.
 
“Hopefully they can do it back to back.”
 
Northampton Chronicle
There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sun, 01 May 2016
Exeter Chiefs v Wasps 12h00 Sandy Park
London Irish v Harlequins 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Newcastle Falcons 14h15 Allianz Park
Fri, 06 May 2016
Crusaders v Reds 07h35 Christchurch
Brumbies v Bulls 09h40 Canberra
Griffons v Eagles 15h00 Welkom
EP Kings v Blue Bulls 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Sat, 07 May 2016
Sunwolves v Force 05h15 Tokyo
Chiefs v Highlanders 07h35 Hamilton
Waratahs v Cheetahs 09h40 Sydney
Leopards v Boland 12h30 Potchefstroom
Sharks v Hurricanes 13h00 Durban
Golden Lions v Free State Cheetahs 13h00 Randburg
Griquas v Border 13h00 Kimberley
Pumas v Namibia 13h00 Mpumalanga
Wasps v London Irish 14h30 Ricoh Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks 14h30 Kingston Park
Worcester Warriors v Saracens 14h30 Sixways
Bath v Leicester Tigers 14h30 Recreation Ground
Gloucester v Northampton Saints 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs 14h30 Twickenham
Zebre v Dragons 15h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Munster v Scarlets 15h00 Thomond Park
Ospreys v Ulster 15h00 Liberty Stadium
Connacht v Glasgow Warriors 15h00 Sportsground
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 15h00 BT Murrayfield
Leinster v Treviso 15h00 RDS
Kings v Blues 15h05 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Western Province 15h30 Durban
PREMIERSHIP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 20 15 1 4 71
Wasps 20 14 0 6 67
Exeter Chiefs 20 13 0 7 65
Leicester Tigers 21 14 0 7 64
Sale Sharks 21 10 2 9 54
Northampton Saints 21 11 0 10 56
Harlequins 20 9 1 10 50
Gloucester 21 10 1 10 49
Bath 21 8 0 13 43
Worcester Warriors 21 7 0 14 35
Newcastle Falcons 20 5 1 14 26
London Irish 20 4 0 16 19