Springbok centre Andre Esterhuizen has opened up on the fearsome reputation he has carved out during his time with Harlequins in the English Premiership.
Esterhuizen was a key part of Harlequins’ Premiership triumph last season.
The 27-year-old returned from a six-week ban – during which he missed the semi-final win over Bristol – to star in the thrilling final victory over Exeter.
His performances have earned him a description as an “agent of chaos” by Harlequins head of rugby Tabai Matson.
During Harlequins’ preparations for Friday’s clash with the Sale Sharks, Esterhuizen was asked about his moniker.
“That’s nice to know. I didn’t hear that, to be honest, but it is nice to hear something like that from your coaches,” Esterhuizen said. “It’s good.
“It’s like playing Manu [Tuilagi] this weekend. He probably does exactly the same. You never know when he is going to put the ball out the back or carry, what he is going to do. You are always thinking about two or three things instead of just knowing this guy is coming hard and straight. Then it is easy, you can just man up and tackle him. But as soon as a player has that skill set and ability to do more than one thing, that is when it gets tough.
“Obviously, physicality for me is the big thing. I’d rather run over you than past you.”
Esterhuizen recently penned a new long-term deal with Harlequins, which he said will keep him with the club until 2025.
“I have never enjoyed my rugby as much. At the moment everything is going very well. It’s a long haul for the family as well. I came to the UK to get a better future for our kids and stuff. It is tough times in South Africa and you never know what is going to happen in the future.
“Mostly my rugby is going well and I’m enjoying the guys around me and we are still a young squad. We worked out last season the average age – without Danny [Care] obviously – is 21 in the backline. We have got a young squad and if we can just keep on building it can be something amazing.”
André Esterhuizen’s try for @Harlequins against Bristol.
Tyrone Green with the Goosey. Assited by Player of the Match Alex Dombrandt.
— Saffas Abroad Rugby 🇿🇦🏉 (@SaffasRugby) October 9, 2021
Photo: Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Harlequins