DURBAN – There was a time when Louis Schreuder was regarded by Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer as a potential starting scrumhalf, but that has given way to the 27-year-old seeing himself as a mentor to a young Sharks backline.
But let’s face it, he is hardly over the hill, given that Fourie du Preez played the last World Cup at age 34, so Schreuder is miles away from being a “has-been”.
The Paarl Gimnasium product is the first to admit that he got bogged down in his native Cape Town after representing SA Schools in 2010 (five appearances), and spending six years playing off the bench behind Dewaldt Duvenage and Ricky Januarie, although he got a Currie Cup medal when he played off the bench behind Nic Groom in the 2012 final at Kings Park.
“I spent six years mostly on the bench, and I probably should have left sooner than I did,” Schreuder admits candidly, having notched up 55 and 66 appearances for Western Province and the Stormers respectively, almost all of them off the bench.
“There was six months at the Kubota Spears in Japan, which rejuvenated my morale, and then came the chance at the Kings in this year’s Super Rugby and it gave my career a new birth,” the slim, trim, likeable scrumhalf said.
“At the Kings, nobody expected us to fire. There was no pressure and expectation, and that brought the best out of us because we felt for each other. It was a kickstart for a number of players, myself included.”
Would he have liked to have stayed with the Kings and been playing PRO14 instead of the Currie Cup?
“The PRO14 would have been nice, but it did not work out (contracts were negotiated long before the end of Super Rugby this year for the Kings players), and I am happy to be here with the Sharks,” he said.
“There is a special thing building here at the Sharks with this group of players. We are trying to build a new culture and have the right blend of youngsters.”
The Sharks play the Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday night.