Willem Alberts may be 35-years-old but he says there are still a good few miles left in “this old diesel engine”. Photo: EPA
Willem Alberts may be 35-years-old but he says there are still a good few miles left in “this old diesel engine”. Photo: EPA

Alberts is fuelled up and raring to go

By Jacques vd Westhuyzen Time of article published Feb 6, 2020

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Willem Alberts may be 35-years-old but he says there are still a good few miles left in “this old diesel engine”.

Alberts has returned to the Lions where it all started for him almost straight after school in 2005 after spending the last four years in France playing for Stade Francais (2015-2019) and before that for the Sharks (2010-2015).

He is without a doubt in the twilight of his career - in fact, he thought he was done when he left the Sharks to move to France in 2015 - but is now hoping to finish on a high in front of his “own people” in Lions colours.

“When I left to go overseas four years ago it was as if I was going to retire in France,” he said this week. “But I suppose at the end of the day what matters is what happens out there on the field and over the last two years I’ve really enjoyed my rugby again. I did some rehabilitation exercises (with the Lions) at the end of last year and have now fallen in as a player. I think I’ve still got a few miles left in this old diesel engine. I feel good, even though in the mornings I sometimes roll out of bed rather than stand up.

“I’m excited. I’ve got a new energy. I thought I was done in South Africa in 2015, but to now be able to come back here to see out my career at the Lions, where it all started for me, is special.”

Alberts will bring some much-needed experience to a young Lions team this season, with the likes of Warren Whiteley and Kwagga Smith not available and Cyle Brink injured.

Together with Jaco Kriel, who has also returned to the Lions after spending two years playing at Gloucester in England, Alberts will be a key man in the Super Rugby competition.

Time will tell whether Alberts’ engine does, indeed, have some life left in it.

The Lions team for this weekend’s second round Super Rugby match against the Reds at Ellis Park will be named around lunch-time today.

@jacq_west 


The Star

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