Skill is the most powerful thing to have, says new Bulls speedster Quewin Nortjé

New Bulls wing Quewin Nortjé said it has been “an unbelievable experience” to learn from Springbok teammates Kurt-Lee Arendse and Canan Moodie. Photo: Johan Rynners/Vodacom Bulls

New Bulls wing Quewin Nortjé said it has been “an unbelievable experience” to learn from Springbok teammates Kurt-Lee Arendse and Canan Moodie. Photo: Johan Rynners/Vodacom Bulls

Published Mar 31, 2023


Cape Town - When Blue Bulls flyer Quewin Nortjé was asked who his rugby heroes are this week, his answer was a bit surprising.

As he is a wing, he could have named any number of speedsters that he looked up to, but instead, he mentioned players who could be described as ‘footballers’ – those guys who have it all: pace, skill, kicking game, strong defence, the works.

It gives you some insight into his thinking, and his performances in the two Currie Cup games he has played in this season – against Western Province and the Cheetahs – gave an indication of what he is all about.

Nortjé was actually a schoolboy star as a fullback and wing at Affies, and now he is making his mark in the big leagues out wide.

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He has blinding pace, good game awareness as he seems to be in the right place at the right time, and perhaps most importantly, he has the skill-set to make the most of his attributes.

“I know Dan Carter is a flyhalf, but just the manner in which he sees the game and how he rules the whole game throughout his career… And when Beauden Barrett also made his name, he also has good pace and skill, and how he uses his skill and pace at the same time,” the 20-year-old said ahead of Friday afternoon’s Currie Cup clash against the Griffons in Welkom (3pm kickoff).

“Will Jordan was also a youngster when he started playing. Now, I am looking up to Will Jordan more. I think we play a similar type of game, so I watch his games and see how I can improve my game towards how he plays.

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“I would consider myself as a good footballer. You get situations sometimes where it doesn’t work out for you, but I think I’m (getting there).”

Of course, he has three Springboks right in the Bulls squad from whom he is learning a lot too.

“Canan and Kurt-Lee especially help me a lot. Even Sbu Nkosi as well, as he is a Springbok too. You learn new things and they give you easier options to use, when you might have thought you should have done one thing, and then you use their option and it works out much easier for you,” Nortjé said.

“It is really an unbelievable experience to be able to talk to them and hear what they think about a particular situation.”

Having made his Currie Cup debut against the Cheetahs last year, Nortje got his big break a few weeks ago when he was included in a virtual URC line-up against WP.

The 19-year-old didn’t get much ball as the Bulls went down 41-33, but looked sharp whenever he was involved.

Then he showcased what he was capable of in last week’s 32-7 loss to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, when he picked up a grubber from Lionel Mapoe and rode the tackle of Cohen Jasper before offloading to fullback Franco Knoetze, who also got his pass away to hooker Jan-Hendrik Wessels to charge over in the corner.

So, while the Griffons have proven that they are tough to beat, the Bulls would do well to get the ball to Nortjé more often.

“That (WP game) was a big week for me and my family. I dreamt about that since I was a little boy, and it was just a really amazing feeling being announced in the squad and letting everybody know,” he said.

“The game on the Friday night was just an amazing experience… running on that field. It was like the whole outside of that field was not existing – it was just the game. It was also a physical battle, and I really enjoyed it.

“Especially at a young age, nobody knows you that well, and you need to make your name and stand your ground against the big boys.

“You need skill as well to be in this game. I think skill is the most important thing. Speed and everything else are just extras – skill is the most powerful thing to have when you play rugby.

“We know that they are a physical team. They come hard at you, especially from the number 12 (Marquit September) and the loose forwards who run on the edges. So, we are expecting a physical battle throughout the whole game. Their 15 also kicks well tactically, so there will be a lot of running to cover the back-field.”

Blue Bulls Team

15 Franco Knoetze 14 Quewin Nortjé 13 Wandisile Simelane 12 Lionel Mapoe 11 Kabelo Mokoena 10 Johan Goosen 9 Keagan Johannes 8 Muller Uys 7 Nizaam Carr 6 Phumzile Maqondwana 5 Reinhardt Ludwig 4 Jacques du Plessis 3 Robert Hunt 2 Jan-Hendrik Wessels 1 Lizo Gqoboka (captain).

Bench: 16 Joe van Zyl 17 Simphiwe Matanzima 18 Sebastian Lombard 19 JP Alberts 20 Mihlali Mosi 21 Bernard van der Linde 22 Chris Barend Smit 23 Adriaan Joubert.


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