CAPE TOWN – If there’s one thing Western Province is blessed with, it’s first-class locks.
The province has been churning out these quality second-row stocks for more than a minute, and while Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit are prime examples of that A-grade calibre, you won’t be any less impressed going down that list.
There’s JD Schickerling, a workhorse whose abilities and no-fear approach to the physical are only made more appreciable by the fact that he was two mm away from being paralysed after breaking his neck in an Under-21 game five years ago.
Then there’s Salmaan, the latest in a long line of noteworthy Moerats to have played the game, who has proven himself to be one for the future, both in terms of leadership and his ability with the Gilbert.
And when leadership is mentioned, that sentence cannot be complete without Chris van Zyl’s name.
Those are only the guys who pack down in the second row regularly, not even considering those who can come in there should it be required.
If you focused on Moerat, it would be clear that the 21 year old isn’t having too bad a time this Currie Cup season, and it’s the time he missed thanks to injury that’s helped him relish these opportunities.
“I missed a huge part of Super Rugby and I had a number of injuries, so I’m really happy to be back in the system and to be given a chance. I’m enjoying my rugby,” Moerat said.
Of course, he has a number of things he wants to work on.
“Norman (Laker; defence coach) and I looked at my clips, and one area I can definitely work on is my height in the tackle ... that’s the main reason why I broke my nose at training. I had an op the same day. So that’s something I’m working on.
“I’m not quite sure if it’s straighter than it used to be, but I don’t think it looks too bad,” he joked.
Moerat also had some words of praise for Schickerling.
“JD is a world-class player. He’s great player on the ball and he adds another line-out option, which is always useful. Our set-pieces went quite well, so we want to keep that standard, especially going into this weekend and the bye.”
WP will be keen to make up for their 32-27 stumble against the Sharks at Kings Park. And there are a number of things they can take from the disappointment, according to the promising forward.
“There were some good learnings we could take out of the game, and you’d rather want to learn these lessons at the start of the season.
“It’s always great to be back home, what people don’t realise is how the support actually carries you through the game. I think our last game against the Bulls showed that.”