The newest Stormers acquisition says he will report for duty with the Vodacom United Rugby Championship winners having already lifted a coveted trophy, reports DEVIN HERMANUS.
An emotional Willie Engelbrecht is relishing the opportunity to become the first Pumas captain to win the Currie Cup before he makes the move to the Stormers in July.
A new champion in the sport’s oldest competition will be crowned in Kimberley on Saturday afternoon with a rags-to-riches matchup between Griquas and the Pumas.
Engelbrecht, who can play any position in the loose trio, will join up with the Stormers on a two-year contract after making a big impression on loan last year with his physicality on both attack and defence.
Speaking as the Pumas prepare for a first-ever Currie Cup final appearance, he told SA Rugby magazine: “People are moaning about Griquas and Pumas being in the final … I feel why not give the little guys a chance, we’ve played good rugby and also deserve to be in a final.
“There’s always this attitude, like if you come from nothing then you’ll always fight harder for something, and the guys started believing we could fight with the big dogs.
“It’s also a bit personal for me because the Pumas made me who I am and now I’m going away. If it wasn’t for the Pumas I wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to go play URC.
“I have to be as hard and more physical as I’ve ever been against Griquas, despite it being a very emotional week for me. But I’m excited to be the first Pumas captain to make it to a final, and the first to lift the Currie Cup trophy as well because we’re going to win.”
Engelbrecht faces stiff opposition from the likes of future Springbok star Evan Roos for game time at the Stormers next season, but said he is up for the challenge: “At the Pumas, we have this saying that, ‘Against the Boks you have to be at your best otherwise you’ll never be a Bok’.
“I was excited for those four weeks when I went on loan at the Stormers. My rugby went to another level, and it’s not the place – it’s how I adapted.
“I was asked the other day: ‘The Stormers loosies are on fire, how am I going to get a place there?’ The only thing I can think about is what my dad always told me: ‘If the competition is good you’ll always be better.’
“Arriving there I will be a Currie Cup champion, a sort-of URC champion, and then it’s Champions Cup and all that stuff coming! It’s a very good time in my life now.”
Airlink Pumas captain Willie Engelbrecht with some slick hands to set up Eddie Fouche😮💨
— Carling Currie Cup (@TheCurrieCup) June 22, 2022