Need for Speed

PUBLISHED: May 11, 2005

If speed kills, Gus Theron should be socialising with angels. The Investec Stormers winger is one of the fastest players in the Vodacom Super 12, which is why he’s called the Gas Man by his team-mates.

‘I haven’t run the 100m in eight or nine years, so I’m not sure how fast I am these days,’ he laughs. ‘My personal best is somewhere around 11sec. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve lost too much pace over the years. Give me the ball in space and I still back myself to get around my opposite man.’

While Theron is quick on the rugby field, he is equally quick around the house.

‘I have a two-year-old son, Kian, who keeps me very busy,’ he says. ‘My wife’s expecting another baby at the end of May, so there’ll be no more time for golf! We’re calling the baby our surprise package, because we still don’t know whether it’s a boy or a girl. My wife thinks it’s a girl, the Stormers guys think it’s a boy, and I don’t have a clue!’

Theron has had an up and down season for the Investec Stormers. While he has speed to burn, so do Breyton Paulse, Jean de Villiers and Tonderai Chavhanga. Unfortunately for the Gas Man, four doesn’t go into two.

‘It’s been a difficult year for me, because I haven’t spent as much time on the field as I would have liked,’ he says. ‘The Stormers are basically fielding an all-Springbok backline and there’s a lot of competition for places. As far as the other wingers are concerned, Breyton’s a legend, Jean’s one of the most talented players around and Tonderai’s got blistering pace.’

Theron finally got a chance to start for the Investec Stormers when Paulse was moved to fullback and De Villiers joined De Wet Barry in midfield.

‘It was great to start for a change,’ he says. ‘At the moment, I’m playing every game as if it’s my last. I want to make the most of every second I spend on the field.’

While Theron is officially a Springbok, he has never played a match for his country. In 2003, he was named in the Springbok starting XV to play the Wallabies in Brisbane, but pulled a hamstring the day before the Test and was forced to withdraw.

‘That was incredibly disappointing,’ he says. ‘To come so close to playing a Test and then missing out like that … well … it hurts. I still dream of playing for the Boks, and hope my chance will come.’

Simon Borchardt