Benedict Chanakira spoke to South African Ross Geldenhuys who is playing in New Zealand these days for the Highlanders….
Ross Geldenhuys is a South African rugby player who has played at several sides in South Africa since 2005. He is currently with the New Zealand Highlanders.
He has been improving since his time in new Zealand and managed to get a second wind. Ross talks what makes the All Black players special, playing at the Kings and his Highlanders side`s current season! Ross also tell us about ‘the Oreo’ in the Highlanders side!
BC – Hi Ross, how are you?
RG – I am good thanks.
BC – Tell us who Ross is in 5 words?
RG – Father of two, husband, rugby player, family man and a good man/team mate
BC – Why New Zealand? How did you get there?
RG – I was contemplating retirement and my wife said I should give it one more crack. There was a club Waitohi that needed a rugby development officer and I paid for all the expenses for my family to move there, and it was quite expensive. I had a dream I could be playing Super Rugby and all players want to do is play. I worked my way through grassroots rugby, did well and went on to play ITM Cup which saw us make the final and when you play well opportunities open up for you.
BC – How has your time with the Highlanders been like? The side has been dark horses that no one believes can run the full course. Can you?
RG – It’s been fantastic. I was disappointed to break my hand against the Waratahs but it’s been fantastic regardless. We take it game by game and looking to put a good performance for our fans.
BC – How have you adapted to the rugby culture? Is it any different?
RG – Its not different in many aspects, but all the same actually. We use the word mate quite a lot. It’s all the same rugby wise. I guess its weird when we coming to tour they say we going to Africa instead of South Africa.
BC – How long do you plan to stay there for?
RG – At the moment I still have another year with Highlanders and two with the Makos. I still feel young even though I don’t look it and hopefully I will be close to finishing my career here. I feel I have a few more years left as a player.
BC – Tell us about your time at the Kings?
RG – It was good for everyone that played, I didn’t get much game time in the Super Rugby and I would find myself in the Vodacom, being tackling dummies for the super side and holding bags. I mean the team culture was pretty vibrant, we trained hard and PE was a lovely place.
BC – Any relation to Quintin Geldenhuys?
RG – I don’t think so, unless my grandfather was naughty. *chuckles*
BC – What is the difference in coaching between South Africa and New Zealand? What is Jamie Joseph like as a coach?
RG – He is a pretty hard man and likes to get his point across. He is a knowledgeable man and a good coach. The main difference in coaching could be their aim to expose defences. In South Africa it was more on defence and that’s what I experienced at my different sides in SA. I’m not saying they don’t focus on defence here but they look to expose defences with their attacking prowess. I guess its about giving it a go, and the Lions are closest to how Kiwi sides play.
BC – You play with several All Blacks, what are they like to you ?
RG – They are a special bunch. I guess the difference with normal players and the Test players is, during the Pre Season we managed to finish a session and I was walking to the dressing room after the ice bath and Jamie Joseph walked past me and said, “You know what I love about the All Blacks? They still out there and they training while everyone else is going home.” Its actually pushed me to do a little extra work too.
His favourite XV? (Players he played with)
JC van Rensburg, Willie Wepener, Ross Geldenhuys, Deals Senekal, Alex Ainley, Schalk Burger, Willem Alberts, Duane Vermeulen, Aaron smith, Lima Sopoaga, Doppies la grange, Malakai Fekitoa. The back three is known as ‘the Oreo’ – Waisake Naholo,Ben Smith, Patrick Osborne.
BC – Thanks for your time.