PRETORIA – Bulls prop Pierre Schoeman harbours no bitterness towards SA rugby and his decision to pursue his career for Edinburgh in Scotland, is purely for a chance of playing international rugby.
But he won’t turn his back on his country of birth without leaving an indelible mark on South African rugby and judging by the way he has entrenched himself as the No 1 loosehead for the Bulls, the Sharks best be wary of what is coming their way this weekend in Durban.
The 23-year-old Schoeman is set to leave Loftus Versfeld at the end of this year’s Super Rugby season to join the PRO14 side with the ultimate goal of playing for Scotland at international level.
A Junior Springbok with still a lot to offer his local franchise and later Springbok rugby, Schoeman admits that he has always dreamt of playing for the Springboks but with a small window of opportunity to broaden his expertise abroad, the former Affies prop feels that there is no better time than now to leave for Europe.
“I’ve had a good time at the Bulls especially now with John Mitchell as the director and head coach. But the opportunity was too good to let go with Richard Cockerill as their head coach, a man who has also coached at Toulon in France,” Schoeman said.
“I’m really looking forward to working with the guys there and as a lot of people have said, Edinburgh is a very lovely place and there are good people. They are doing well in the PRO14 and I’m looking forward to getting better as a prop, especially in those conditions. It is really sad that I have to leave but it is a wonderful opportunity.
“My dream has always been to play for the Boks but if one is uncapped and has an opportunity to play for Scotland, then I will go for.”
But before the blonde haired prop fully immerses himself in haggis, whiskey and the cold weather, Schoeman wants to leave South Africa with pleasant memories of the braai, hunting, the bushveld and seeing the Bulls doing well in Super Rugby.
Schoeman, though, is not delusional about the enormity of the task that faces the Bulls in Durban.
At the same time, the Bulls will not be focussing on what the Sharks will do but rather what they will need to tweak in their game to build on their victory against the Stormers and all that went wrong on their tour of New Zealand.
“You have to give them credit they played well, especially against the Blues and they had that game against the Hurricanes.
There is loopholes in every side and if we stick to our process and not focus too much on them. It is going to be a great challenge, especially in those humid conditions. We played in those conditions against the Crusaders, we know what adjustments to make on attack and defence,” Schoeman said.