Al­berts rel­ishes ‘spe­cial feel­ing’

VET­ERAN: FLANKER HAPPY TO END CA­REER WITH LIONS

The Citizen (KZN) - - Sport - Ru­dolph Ja­cobs

Vet­eran former Spring­bok flank Willem Al­berts says it’s a spe­cial feel­ing to be able to fin­ish his ca­reer with the Lions where it all started to hap­pen for him 12 years ago.

The 35-year-old Al­berts, who had 43 Spring­bok caps to his name, is ex­pected to pro­vide valu­able lead­er­ship to the young­sters in the Lions side this sea­son.

“I re­mem­ber as an Un­der-20 player, guys like Ian Macdon­ald and Timmy Good­win be­lieved in me when I didn’t be­lieve in my­self,” Al­berts said yes­ter­day.

“Some­times when I get out of bed it’s a bit sore, but I’m feel­ing good phys­i­cally and ex­cited to con­trib­ute at the Lions, who are such an ex­cit­ing and pos­i­tive group that I just want to add value.”

Af­ter play­ing 37 Su­per Rugby games for the Lions, Al­berts joined the Sharks in 2009 where he played 73 Su­per Rugby matches un­til 2015.

He then moved to France where he rep­re­sented Stade Fran­cais in 79 games un­til last sea­son.

“I left the Sharks af­ter the World Cup in 2015 and I had started to ne­go­ti­ate with French clubs in 2014,” Al­berts said.

“France wasn’t al­ways my first choice be­cause of the lan­guage, but I thought I had come to the end of my ca­reer in South Africa and there wasn’t re­ally a fu­ture here for me.”

Though it pro­vided its own chal­lenges, Al­bert is pleased to have had the op­por­tu­nity to live and play in an­other coun­try.

“I thought I would go over­seas for the life ex­pe­ri­ence and the ex­change rate made it a tempt­ing route for lo­cal play­ers,” he said.

“I re­ally en­joyed my time at the

Sharks but the team also changed a lot, so I thought it was time to move on.”

Al­berts said he opted for a move to Stade Fran­cais be­cause former Lions and Sharks team­mate Ger­hard Mostert was there, along with Morne Steyn and Meyer Bos­man.

Pic­ture: AFP

WILLEM AL­BERTS

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