DURBAN - It is hard to imagine a more widely travelled rugby player than Grahamstown’s Ross Geldenhuys, and it is pleasing for the Sharks that the prop has chosen to park his wealth of experience in Durban now that he has hit the twilight of his career.
Since leaving school at St Andrews’ College he has played for Border, Western Province, the Bulls, Pumas, Golden Lions, Boland, the Cheetahs and the Griffons before elevating to Super Rugby at the Stormers, Lions, Kings, the Highlanders (yes, the Dunedin team) and latterly the Kings of this year.
That is some accumulation of jerseys, not to mention experience, but now it looks like he is going to put down roots in Durban and play out his career with the team he supported from boyhood.
“Much to the annoyance of my father (a WP supporter), I have always supported the Sharks,” the genial 34-year-old said.
He made his debut for the Sharks last week, having chosen to pin his colours to the mast of the Sharks a few months ago when it became apparent that the Kings would be cut from Super Rugby.
“Over the years I have wanted to come to the Sharks, but it has not worked out,” he smiled.
“So when the opportunity arose a short while ago, I jumped at the chance. I have been around a bit and Durban is a great place and I have a young family, and another child on the way, so I am very pleased at how things have worked out. This is a great part of the world to settle down.”
And he would know. It is possible that he holds the record for moving around provinces. “It just worked out that I moved around a lot. I have felt as a professional rugby player you have to look after yourself,” he said.
“Then when Lourens Adriaanse announced that he was moving from the Sharks to France, I needed no persuading being a tighthead who always wanted to move to the Sharks!”
A post shared by Ross Geldenhuys (@rossgeldenhuys) on
Having scrummed around the world, he knows a thing or two about what it takes to dominate up front. He is happy to point out that often props are at the mercy of the forwards behind them.
“Scrumming is tough enough and more than ever it is becoming an eight-man battle, so if one guy is sleeping, the prop can look bad, and there have been times when I have cursed a lock or loose forward for not pulling his weight,” he grinned.
“You can look bad if the guys behind you are not pushing their weight and leave you exposed.” Geldenhuys says he can’t see that happening at the Sharks. “I have not been here that long but I can already see a good scrum mentality and we pushed the Pumas off the ball a few times,” he said.
“The Sharks are proud of their scrumming and we have The Beast (injured) and Coenie (rested contracted Springbok) to come back for Super Rugby next year, and I am happy that I have the Currie Cup to entrench myself and make a statement.”
The Sharks host Griquas on Friday night.