WATCH: Things started to change for Bulls against Ulster, says Harold Vorster



Published Apr 12, 2023


Cape Town – Having played professional rugby for over a decade already, it is a bit surprising that Harold Vorster doesn’t have a Springbok cap to his name as yet.

The hard-running Bulls inside centre has had an exemplary career, having been part of an outstanding Lions side that reached three consecutive Super Rugby finals in 2016, 2017 and 2018, where he sometimes shared duties with Rohan Janse van Rensburg in a formidable midfield partnership with Lionel Mapoe.

But that didn’t result in any national call-up ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, with Damian de Allende entrenched in the No 12 jersey, with veteran Frans Steyn as the back-up.

De Allende is still the man in possession heading into France 2023, while Steyn has been out of the mix and is currently injured.

Former Sharks star André Esterhuizen, who is now at Harlequins in England is the next-in-line behind Japan-based De Allende, while Stormers star Damian Willemse can also fill in at No 12.

But the way Vorster has performed this season, despite the Bulls’ poor recent results, makes him a worthwhile contender if an injury or two strikes the Bok camp over the next few months.

With his 1.89m, 98kg frame, Vorster is not shy to put his body on the line as a ball-carrier. He was renowned at the Lions for his ‘crash-ball’ style at close quarters, but what is evident these days at the Bulls are better running lines.

Vorster has made quite a few breaks and looks to hit the gap more than the defender, which makes him so much more effective.

He is arguably playing the best rugby of his career at the moment, and will look to continue in that manner in Saturday’s must-win United Rugby Championship clash against winless Zebre at Ellis Park (1pm kickoff).

“I am enjoying it here…  I am very happy with where I am. I feel the union is good. We have a good group of guys, and all the guys get on well with each other,” Vorster said in typically understated fashion this week as he tried hard to avoid taking any credit.

“We are trying to build a team and create a unique environment for everybody, and I feel that the guys are all playing for each other… no one is really playing for themselves.

“And I think that is where the difference comes in: everyone is playing for each other, and the guys care about each other and work hard.”

The 29-year-old midfielder spoke about the tough times of dealing with a 10-match losing streak, which thankfully came to an end in last week’s 40-3 Currie Cup victory over Griquas.

But that’s all behind Jake White’s team now, and they are intent on making the URC playoffs.

“It’s all about the process. We take it each day, step by step, each training session. So, we try to not focus on the standings… and take it game for game,” Vorster said.

“The win helped us a lot… we’ve got a lot more confidence. But actually over the last couple of weeks, we really played well. We put up a good performance against Ulster, and then especially in the first half against Toulouse – both very, very good teams.

“So, that was the build-up that started a few weeks ago, and the win last week just gave us a confidence-booster.

“There were a couple of disappointments – and the losing streak wasn’t nice – but I think we just stuck together nicely, really trained hard, and I believe things started to change against Ulster, where we really played well… even though the result didn’t go our way.

“I actually feel that we produced a very good performance against Ulster, and the same against Toulouse – especially the first half.

“So, it has been building up for two to three weeks, and perhaps before that – the results just didn’t go our way.

“Last week against Griquas just gave us a bit more confidence, and all the hard work paid off.

“You could definitely sense in the camp that the performance was getting better – each training session was getting better, and the vibe is getting a bit more positive each day.

“But there is definitely still a lot of work to do, and we have two very important matches coming up.”