Alberts relishes ‘special feeling’
VETERAN: FLANKER HAPPY TO END CAREER WITH LIONS
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.