“Playing 12 or 13 In DHL Stormers Setup A Demanding Task” – Ruhan Nel


Ruhan Nel takes great pride in wearing the DHL Stormers No.13 jersey and is looking forward to another big challenge in the Heineken Champions Cup at DHL Stadium on Saturday.

Following a short spell on the sidelines with injury, Nel made a successful return in Brentford, where he resumed his centre partnership with Dan du Plessis and scored an intercept try.

“We have a good understanding of each other’s way of thinking,” Nel explained. “We feed off each other’s mindsets whether we are on attack or defence.

“Playing 12 or 13 in the DHL Stormers setup is a very demanding task. It requires an extremely high work rate. So making each other feel safe on the field is very important and that’s what we try and do every opportunity we get to play together.”

Since making his DHL Stormers debut back in 2019, Nel has grown into one of the most effective outside centres in the country, with his defensive mastery of the No 13 channel earning him plaudits.

“From scrums and line-outs, you are probably the most vulnerable and isolated player in the defence line. You often have guys running out the back with a short runner or a trick play that they try and catch you off guard and make you make the wrong decision,” said Nel.

“The way we as a system defend, it often requires decisions that need to be made sometimes in the moment.

“It’s tricky because if you get it wrong teams find a lot of space out wide, but if we get it right, it’s the most beautiful thing to see. So it’s a high risk for a high reward.

“I take a lot of pride in wearing the number 13 and the responsibility that comes with it. I want to make the guys in the system feel safe and hopefully, give through accurate information to help them feel comfortable in where they find themselves on the field.”