Prop Oli Kebble says the Glasgow Warriors are ready to confront the Stormers’ Springbok front row “head on” when the teams clash in Cape Town on Friday night, reports DEVIN HERMANUS.
Kebble played Super Rugby for the Stormers, and Currie Cup for Western Province, between 2012 and 2017, so he’ll therefore scrum down against a few familiar faces in this week’s Vodacom United Rugby Championship match at Cape Town Stadium.
The Scotland international is one of two SA-born players included in Glasgow’s squad for the two-match tour of the Republic, the other being former Griquas flyer Kyle Steyn.
Kebble, who came through the WP age-group ranks, was part of the front-row depth chart at the Stormers along with the Bok trio of Steven Kitshoff, Scarra Ntubeni and Frans Malherbe. The 11-cap Scotland loosehead prop was also a cog in the SA U20 team that won the 2012 Junior World Championship.
Talking about the prospect of Glasgow’s first match against the Stormers, Kebble told media: “The current coaching staff of the Stormers have coached me through age grade, and [team manager] Chippie Solomons will give me some stick on the field as well!
“A lot of guys have moved on, but I still know a couple of front-row boys at the Stormers. The rest of them are youngsters.
“I know the older faces better … Frans Malherbe and Steven Kitshoff. Haven’t spoken to them much, so hopefully I’ll catch up with them afterwards for a beer.
“Last time I scrummed against them was four, five years ago, but it is not just those two but a few good front-rowers we’re up against, and we’ll have to take them head on. Stormers pose a different threat from the national side but still have an excellent set-piece.”
The 29-year-old is the son of former Bok prop Guy Kebble, and was raised and schooled in Cape Town, so he is excited to play in front of his nearest and dearest again.
“It’s the first time my family are going to watch me play live in three years, so they’re buzzing,” he said. “But, first I’m now looking forward to beating the Stormers, and then the Bulls.”
Glasgow defence coach Peter Murchie added: “Oli has come up through the Stormers system, so we’ve got some insight, which is useful to tap into the psyche and what we can expect out there … the mindset.”
Murchie’s Stormers counterpart, Norman Laker, says the Capetonians are wary of the threat that Kebble – affectionately known as ‘The White Rhino’ in Glasgow – poses in familiar surroundings: “Oli is a good ball-carrier, and overall strong ball player, and he gets them on the front foot.
“Also looking forward to seeing Kyle Steyn, who played for Maties.”