Warrick Gelant says the opportunity to chase constant growth was a massive motivator behind his move from the Vodacom Bulls to the Stormers. DYLAN JACK reports.
After seven years with the Bulls, Gelant decided to return to the Western Cape with the Stormers, recently beginning non-contact training in a small group of five with his new team.
Even though it was a decisive career change, the 25-year-old told the media in an online conference that the Stormers’ goals aligned very strongly with his own.
‘At the moment we are in a difficult time. We can’t really know what’s going to happen tomorrow. We always want to grow,’ Gelant said. ‘That growth is always being chased. That’s what makes it so special. There is never a comfortable zone here, where we think we are the best team.
‘We always want to be better, it doesn’t matter which area or department of the game. I always want to grow my game. For me to arrive here and see it is basically what is being chased here day in and day out, I am in the best place for my career.
‘I am nowhere near the player that I want to be. For me, that is a big motivator. I have always been a Stormers supporter. The fullbacks that came before me were great fullbacks.
‘To wear the jersey that they have worn is special. It is so much bigger than just arriving here and saying that I have won a World Cup. It is a chance to be a part of the Stormers tradition and to wear a jersey that so many great fullbacks have worn.’
South African players have recently welcomed the news of being able to train in a non-contact environment in smaller groups, after spending the last five months in lockdown.
Gelant, though, has embraced the lockdown as an opportunity to work on his most basic skills. For him, the true essence of being a great team is being able to do your basic pass very well.
‘I am just excited to be here. This is the best time for any rugby player,’ Gelant said. ‘I can’t remember the last time we had six or seven months to just work on your game, your basics and fundamentals. We watch the NFL and see how those guys go through a six- or seven-month period of where they just do individual stuff.
‘We are in a period where we can fix that stuff that is not normally fixable in-season. Things like catching and passing. The Stormers coaches are great in that they are always open to listening about how we can make each other better.
‘We have to simplify everything,’ Gelant added. ‘We have to bring everything back to basics. If I do a drill of catch-and-pass, it is something a player will do from when he is six or seven years old, but it stays the most important thing in rugby.
‘We can sometimes get to a stage where we can’t throw that pressure pass. It has just shown how championship teams win games, doing the simple things great. The further we get from complexity and closer to simplicity will be the key for me.’
Photo: Mike Maytham