Vodacom Stormers scrumhalf Bolla Conradie feels rejuvenated and is raring to go in the Super 14 competition that starts next month.
Conradie impressed the critics with his performance against Boland at Wellington last Saturday and seemed full of enthusiasm. His lively play gave Boland a lot of headaches and he made his intentions – to be the first-choice No 9 this year – clear.
With Ricky Januarie joining the Stormers and the talented Dewaldt Duvenhage, Paul Delport and Conrad Hoffmann also itching to get a chance, Conradie is only too aware that the competition was going to be tough.
He is not for nothing the most experienced Stormer in the squad with 63 caps after making his debut back in 2002 against the Sharks though. The former SA Schools scrumhalf reckons competition is what keeps him motivated.
“I would say we are five good scrumhalves in the Stormers setup now and that brings out the best in the players. Competition will always be there, it doesn’t matter whether it is in a work or sport situation.
“That is part of life and you must just deal with it,” said Conradie.
The 29-year-old missed a considerable chunk of last season due to injuries – first an ankle and then an elbow injury at the end of 2007 laid him low. The misery is something of the past now, says Conradie, and he is fighting fit again.
“I am feeling good. I am fit and I just hope the injuries stay away. I had a nice pre-season with the squad and the vibe is nice. I don’t really regard the new okes as new, because we all have played together at some stage of our careers.
“The vibe is world class and the guys are always egging each other on.”
The Bellville-South star speaks in glowing terms about new coach Rassie Erasmus. “He brings a new dimension to the game. He gives you the freedom to play the situation as you see it and allows you to make your decisions from that. He is not rigid in his thinking.”
Conradie was happy with his performance against Boland, but said he wouldn’t rest on his laurels. “Yes, I was happy, but as the season progresses I want to improve with every game. I am looking forward to the first game, as I was out for four months last season and am hungry to play again.”
He said the new laws would suit his game like a glove, particularly the five metre line that defending teams have to adhere to at the breakdowns and scrums. “It will allow you to play with the ball in hand more and that is what I love to do,” explained the former Springbok.
Conradie said the hunger to play for his country is still there and the flame is burning as passionately as ever. “It is always a privilege to play for the Bokke. That is why I will always give 100% every Saturday and hopefully I can play for the Bokke again.”