Strauss not taking position for granted
For Springbok starting hooker Adriaan Strauss, the level of competition for the No 2 jersey is so big that he can’t take anything for granted.
Named co vice-captain for the Castle Rugby Championship, he was set to understudy incumbent hooker Bismarck du Plessis when the Sharks hooker suffered a serious knee injury in the opening minutes of the tournament last Saturday at DHL Newlands.
With Du Plessis out for the season, Strauss will now take a bigger than expected role.
“I now have an extra sense of responsibility,” he said in Mendoza, where the Springboks will play Los Pumas on Saturday.
“The guys are all leaders in their own right, leaders in other unions so it makes my job easier. It won’t take the focus off my game and I look forward to the challenge.”
Strauss’s 13 caps have come since 2008, although with the most capped Springbok playing in your position and his understudy also a great international with 46 caps, it isn’t easy to break into the starting XV.
In fact, his only full cap was in 2009 against Italy, so Saturday’s match will be his biggest test yet.
“Of course it is great to be part of this team, a great honour, and I am very thankful for the opportunity.”
Having been around the fringes of the team, his opportunity has now come, and he will grab it with both hands.
Yet, says Strauss, “it is always tough losing a guy in the team, but especially someone like Bismarck. He is an outstanding player and a great leader. I hope to take my opportunity.”
Strauss was on the park for 76 minutes at Newlands, and was one of the best performers in that 27-6 win over Argentina.
But the Toyota Cheetahs captain believes there is always room for improvement. “Last Saturday there were a lot of lost opportunities but it was test rugby and very physical, a very tough game. We need to improve on our game and I think we will as we had a good week thus far, good training sessions.”
“If there is any perception out there that Argentina is going to be a walk-over it is a big mistake, especially on their home ground. It is going to be a tough game. We will ready.”
Analysing the Pumas' game-plan, “Atter” Strauss, said: “Their drive was good, their scrums were tough, physical, good in the floor and in the tackle situation. At scrum-time they were very quick off the mark and they attacked us on the hit. We can be better.”
“There are a lot of good hookers in South Africa, you need to play well to stand out and there is healthy competition which is good for South African rugby.
"You need to prove a point and be at your best every single week and I believe that you never deserve a place in the team. It is always a great honour and you need to prove yourself.”
Adriaan Strauss is planning to do that.