Bekker an unsung hero

PUBLISHED: February 28, 2007

Andries Bekker is one of the unsung heroes of the Vodacom Stormers side. But he has shown why he is rated one of the most promising locks in South Africa at the moment.

He impressed the commentators so much in last weekend’s match against the Highlanders that they even considered him for the Man of the Match award.

That was quite a feat, given the fact that his team played second fiddle for most of that Vodacom Super 14 match and was convincingly beaten in the end.

Bekker is expected to play a key role again for the Stormers when they tackle the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday in their fifth Super 14 match.

The tall second rower was named in the Springbok squad last year, but eventually did not make side. He is happy with his current form, Bekker – son of famous Springbok Hennie – told thestormers.com.

“I am happy with my game at the moment but there is always room for improvement and I want to get better and better in each game,” said the former SA under-21 star.

The 24-year-old scored a gem of a try against the Highlanders and showed he is surprisingly mobile for such a big man – 2.08m and 120 kg. He made it clear he enjoyed his moment in the limelight.

“It was a great feeling,” he said when asked to describe what went through his mind on the way to the try-line. “ Especially the way the game had gone where we had fallen behind through our own mistakes and eventually were able to get onto the scoreboard.”

Bekker made his debut for the Stormers in 2005, against the Highlanders. Last year he formed a formidable second-row combination for the Cape franchise with Ross Skeate, but missed a big chunck of the Currie Cup due to injuries.

Asked why the talented Stormers are battling so much at the moment, Bekker said he doesn’t have the answers. “It’s hard to say. They guys are motivated and determined but it is not coming together on the field. We just have to carry on working hard on the training ground.”

It is World Cup year and if the former Paul Roos learner continues his rich vein of form, Jake White would definitely take a second look at him. At the moment Springbok selection, however, is furthest from the gentle giant’s mind.

“Right now my focus is performing for the Stormers. Realistically there may be an outside chance of making the Bok side; that is what we all strive for ultimately,” was his sober point of view on that subject.

Turning to the opposition on Saturday, Bekker made it clear he expects another tough encounter. “Their record shows they are a quality team even without their All Blacks. It will be a tough match but we are up to the challenge and are hoping to do well.”