Elrigh Louw wants to be ’a Vermeulen, McCaw, Burger’ rolled into one
CAPE TOWN – Richie McCaw, Schalk Burger, Duane Vermeulen … All three legends of the game, but who would you want to be as a loose forward?
How about all three rolled into one – that is the aim of Bulls youngster Elrigh Louw, who is gearing up for his first Currie Cup semi-final against the Lions at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday (2pm kick-off).
Such was Louw’s impact in Pretoria since arriving from the Southern Kings that he has already claimed the No 7 jersey ahead of Springboks such as Arno Botha and Nizaam Carr; and Blitzbok Tim Agaba.
And while he clearly enjoys being a confrontational type of ball-carrier, he has shown he has some silky touches and smart running lines on attack that will keep the Lions defence busy.
“There are many guys I base my play on, but I try to have a mixture of the best of all. I can’t say there’s one guy who I base my play on 100%, but Richie McCaw, Schalk Burger, Duane Vermeulen … I try to roll all of them into one: good flank on the ground, good defence, strong, running rugby,” the 21-year-old said this week.
“I love contact. But I also love an open game. I try to combine my play, but physical rugby is definitely my favourite.”
The Bulls have ruled the roost in this Covid-19 affected season, having clinched the Super Rugby Unlocked title and topped the Currie Cup log. But Saturday will be their first play-off, and it’s a unique situation that Louw believes will require the leaders to show the way.
“I think the senior guys will have to pitch up. There are many youngsters here who are playing in their first ever semi-final, so they would have to bring a bit of calmness. Then, the big thing is that we must just stick to our plan and stay calm, and not fold under the pressure,” he said.
“The breakdowns will be vital. If you don’t get quick and clean ball, then your playing pattern also half falls flat. The thing about the Lions is that you never quite know what to expect on the day.”
Louw missed a large part of the Currie Cup due to an injury, but said that his “body is feeling better than ever”. He will hope that he can rekindle the rhythm he enjoyed with Vermeulen and Marco van Staden earlier in the season.
“As a child, I used to come watch the Currie Cup at Loftus, and my dad used to pick me up in front of the field out of excitement. So, it means a lot – not just to me, but to the rest of the country,” he said.
“Everybody’s playing on the same day in the same weather, so what affects us will affect the rest of the teams as well. To pull a Bulls jersey over your head is motivation on its own. You want to make the people watching you and the guys alongside you proud.”