Fondse ready to lock horns with old mates

PUBLISHED: February 14, 2008

Only last season Adriaan Fondse was a true-blue Bull. But on Saturday he will be giving his all for the Vodacom Stormers when they clash with the Bulls in their opening Super 14 match.

Fondse was named as one of two substitute locks for the big clash at Newlands. The 24-year-old made a move to the Cape at the end of last season.

And he says he has settled in nicely in Cape Town and he was looking forward to a good season with the Stormers and Vodacom Western Province.

He, however, made it clear that he was prepared to fight for a berth in the starting XV and doesn’t expect anything on a silver platter. Fondse was fourth in the Bulls’ lock queue and only played in one Super 14 match last year.

Springboks Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha were the preferred lock combination, with Francois van Schouwenburgh as their cover.

Now Fondse is vying with Ross Skeate, Andries Bekker and Francois van der Merwe for a starting spot. He is philosophical about it though.

“The competition is still tough. They are three young, good locks. We all are approximately the same age, but competition is good – it brings out the best in you.

“Whoever plays will do his best, because there will always be somebody knocking on the door,” commented Fondse.

He said adapting to the Cape lifestyle and the Stormers environment wasn’t that difficult. “It is actually very nice. All the guys are nice and I have known a few guys from the SA under-21 side. Everything is going okay.”

Coach Rassie Erasmus said Fondse had some ankle trouble during the warm-up games and that was why he was on the bench.

Fondse said he would have loved to start, but if it was in the best interest of the team that he was on the bench he was happy. And when he gets his chance, he would give 110%.

He sees his move to Cape Town as an opportunity to kick-start his career after having to play second fiddle in Pretoria. “Yes, I definitely see this as an opportunity, but at the moment I am taking it game by game. I just want to do well.”

The big forward said he would not view the game as an opportunity to “take revenge” on the Bulls and he doesn’t expect them to single him out for special treatment.

“I have very good relationships with everybody at the Bulls, so there is nothing to prove. It was just a matter of circumstances. Those were very good players who were ahead op me in the pecking order. I will give my all for the Stormers on Saturday and there is no such thing as personal vendettas with the Bulls.

“When I go on in the second half those things are anyway sorted out and then the guys just concentrate on the game, so I don’t think there will be much niggle in it.”