Ruhan Nel

Nel determined to add to DHL Stormers legacy

PUBLISHED: May 22, 2023

DHL Stormers centre Ruhan Nel grew up idolising DHL Stormers greats of the past and will be doing all he can to add to that rich legacy in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship Grand Final this weekend.

Having looked up to DHL Stormers legends such as Bob Skinstad, Corne Krige, Breyton Paulse, and Robbie Fleck during the “Men in Black” era as a youngster, Nel is now a big part of the team that has carved its own place in the rich history of the franchise.

As a young schoolboy, the Benoni-born Nel never thought that playing for the DHL Stormers was anything more than wild imagination.

His dreams were fuelled by the dynamic style of rugby played by his heroes – watching Jacque Fourie, Jean de Villiers, and Schalk Burger embody the essence of DHL Stormers rugby solidified his passion for the game.

Nel remembers the electric atmosphere of the 2010 Super Rugby final, where he proudly donned his DHL Stormers jersey and cheered for the Capetonians against the Vodacom Bulls at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.

Now, the 32-year-old stands as one of the driving forces behind the DHL Stormers’ pursuit of back-to-back Vodacom United Rugby Championship titles.

“I don’t think I’ll ever see myself in the same bracket as those guys I looked up to when I grew up,” he said. “But I do recognise the magnitude or responsibility to leave the jersey in a better place, especially after being part of such a special time in the history of the franchise.”

Nel’s contributions have been instrumental in the DHL Stormers’ journey to the Vodacom URC final in Cape Town on Saturday, and his two tries against Munster in a narrow league-phase loss served a warning to the Irish finalists.

Facing Munster once again, this time in front of a sold-out crowd at the DHL Stadium, Nel relishes the opportunity.

Fully aware of the Irish club’s impressive away record this season, including victories against formidable opponents such as the Glasgow Warriors and Leinster, he embraces the challenge.

“What better way than to get the team you have not managed to win against in the Vodacom URC yet, in a home final? It’s going to be massive!”

The prospect of thousands of blue jerseys and DHL Stormers flags waving in support provides an extra surge of motivation for Nel, who wants to deliver a performance that will make Cape Town smile.

“We absolutely love, love, love our supporters! There is no supporter base like The Faithful.

“Newlands holds a lot of history and you can’t not think of the old lady whenever you mention the DHL Stormers or DHL Western Province, so to see people embracing DHL Stadium and creating new memories in it, is a testament to how hard the players and coaches have worked to get the people behind us again!”

The stage is set, and Nel and his teammates will give everything they have to make their mark and secure their place in the birth of a DHL Stormers’ dynasty.