Josh Strauss says he signed for the Vodacom Bulls because he believed in outgoing head coach Pote Human’s plan to move the team forward. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
Speaking exclusively to SARugbymag.co.za, Strauss opened up about his decision to come back to South Africa, the emotions that came with being tested for Covid-19, the challenges of living in temporary isolation and lockdown and what he misses most about his time in Europe.
As previously mentioned, Strauss – who played for Boland and the Lions before moving to Europe where he represented the Glasgow Warriors, Sale Sharks, Stade Français and ultimately Scotland at international level – returned to South Africa to join the Bulls for this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby season.
Strauss has now revealed how and why that move came about, saying it was the vision Human had to take the Bulls forward that made him come to Loftus in the first place.
‘It was a joint family decision to return. My kids started school in Paarl at the beginning of last year as it was quite tough on my wife over in Europe because I travelled a lot. So, I was a bit unsure of what to do but after a Skype interview with Bulls coach Pote Human and CEO Alfons Meyer I was sold. I loved coach Pote’s vision and demeanour as a coach straightaway,’ he revealed.
For now, Strauss is taking things day by day and is, like all other non-essential workers in South Africa, restricted to his house during the 21-day national lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.
‘I’m likely facing the same challenges as most people are at the moment. Getting supplies from shops is a big one, keeping the kids occupied is another, but as someone who travels a lot I’m actually quite happy to spend time with my family,’ Strauss said.
He added that the 14-day self-isolation period after the Bulls’ abrupt return from their tour of Australasia was stressful as they waited for their test results and also couldn’t immediately reunite with their families.
‘I was in isolation in Pretoria for a bit as we waited on the results of the Covid-19 tests we had to take after the tour, so Morne Steyn stayed with my housemate, Ian Groenewaldt, and I until we were cleared.’
‘I think the thought [that they might test positive] was definitely in the back of some players’ minds as a few of us had cold symptoms on tour. I think for fathers it was more the fear of not being able to see your family in this trying time. I live in Pretoria most of the week and my wife and daughters live in Wellington [in the Western Cape] and being so far away from them didn’t help ease the tension,’ Strauss explained.
The 33-year-old said despite the current circumstances, he couldn’t be happier to be back in his own country, but also admitted that there are certain things he misses dearly about his time abroad.
‘I loved my time in France. I was lucky enough to spend some time in Paris and it was brilliant. I enjoyed the French culture, even if it wasn’t always nice to my waistline,’ he jokes.
‘Scotland is a beautiful country, one of the best in the world in my opinion, but unfortunately the weather does not always allow you to enjoy it. What I miss most though, is sense of humour of the British people.’
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