“One Cannot Expect To Just Walk Into The Squad” – Andre Esterhuizen

 

Springbok centre Andre Esterhuizen is relishing the opportunity to get a run against Argentina in Saturday's Castle Lager Rugby Championship clash at Estadio Libertadores De América and said he planned to make the most of every opportunity on the field with an eye on trying to secure a spot in next year’s Rugby World Cup squad.

With Lukhanyo Am and Damian de Allende having established themselves as the Springboks' first choice midfield combination and the likes of Esterhuizen, Jesse Kriel, Damian Willemse and Frans Steyn adding to the options in those positions, Esterhuizen admitted the competition for places was tight and said it was vital to make the most of every opportunity to play.

Esterhuizen is one of three backs on the replacements bench this week alongside Faf de Klerk (scrumhalf) and Steyn (utility).

“One cannot expect to just walk into the squad after having a good season for your club,” said Esterhuizen.

“As a player you have to put in the hard yards when you are here and use your chances when they arise. Obviously breaking a bone in my hand (against Wales) set me back as well, but I am pleased to receive this opportunity on Saturday.”

Esterhuizen added: “I try to give my best in every game I play for the Boks and my club with an eye on trying to make the Rugby World Cup squad next year, so this game is not more important than any other to me personally.

“I'm obviously keen to make a good impression, but one has to be careful not to put too much pressure on yourself because you can make mistakes. So, the way I approach things is to take it one game at a time and give my best.”

Esterhuizen expected a big onslaught from Argentina's centres on Saturday: “They have good centres. I've played against Jerònimo de la Fuente and Matìas Moroni and they are tough players who run good lines and are solid on defence.”

Zoning in on the key areas for the Springboks going into the clash as they target a vital victory Esterhuizen said: “Getting momentum and front-foot ball will be important this weekend. We also need to be as physical as possible because Argentina play with a lot of passion and they play a hard game, so it will be a tough, but good battle.”