Lepoards sign up SA’s Sonny Bill for Currie Cup

The Leopards rugby team have recruited their own version of Sonny Bill Williams for this season’s Currie Cup Rugby.

Weighing in at approximately 125 kilograms, with great vision from his two-metre vantage point, Brendon Snyman is sure to make his presence felt in the team’s engine room.

The second-rower, who started his career at the Blue Bulls, joined the North West squad after spending several years initially at the Griquas and then the Eastern Province Kings.

And although he is not expected to create tries by off-loading in the tackle area — like Williams — his physical approach to proceedings has already become a source of inspiration for those playing next to him.

“Brendon is a great player and the fact that he has been involved in about 22 (boxing) fights shows in his approach to the game,” Leopards coach Leon Boshoff said on Friday.

“He also gets around the park well, and it is great to see how the rest of the forwards are feeding off the positive energy he has.”

Boshoff is just as excited to see what difference Border bred Luvuyiso Lusaseni can make after an impressive Varsity Cup stint for Tuks.

The Leopards have also roped in Lions flank Renaldo Bothma to battle it out at the breakdowns.

Boshoff is cautiously optimistic that the hard work his team produced in the pre-season build-up will be rewarded when they play their opening match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein next week.

“The guys were put through an extensive conditioning programme and I can’t wait to see if the hard work they did off the field, translates into results on it,” Boshoff said.

“The team will start the competition with a lot of confidence and a real belief that they are capable of beating some of the traditional giants.

“I’ve been really impressed with the commitment this group has shown in our pre-season training.”

Another important change to the side, which survived a relegation battle last season, sees Clayton du Randt take over the captaincy from Wilhelm Koch who has joined the South Western Districts Eagles.

Du Randt said as a flyhalf he already makes important decisions on the field, so the new responsibility should not have a huge impact on his game.

“It is a real privilege to captain this team and we are looking forward to what should be another exciting season of Currie Cup rugby,” he said.

The pivot, like most of his teammates, admitted he is relieved that their tough pre-season training programme is over.

“It was definitely one of the toughest pre-season camps I’ve ever been on and I’m sure most of the team will agree to that,” Du Randt said.

“The important thing now will be implementing the elements of change coach Bossie has made to our game.”

Du Randt said they hoped to finish inside the top six this season, with eight teams contesting the Currie Cup’s top tier.

“If we play to our potential we can achieve anything.”

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