Esterhuizen keeps banging on Bok door
REACTION: Centre Andre Esterhuizen will be a hard man to ignore when Jacques Nienaber selects his first Springbok squad in 2022.
Time and time again the 27-year-old has produced some outstanding performances for Harlequins, and it was no different in his team’s 41-27 win over Northampton Saints on Monday.
At one stage Harlequins were 7-21 down and Esterhuizen, who collected yet another man-of-the-match award, played an integral role in his team’s fightback.
— Darren Carlson 🏉 (@SaffasRugby) December 27, 2021
Once again he was the go-to man to get his team over the advantage line in the midfield. He gained 44 metres from his twelve carries.
The only other player in the Harlequins’ team to reach that number of carries in Monday’s game was powerhouse No.8 Alex Dombrandt.
Esterhuizen, who last played for the Springboks in 2019, has developed into a great all-round player and that was evident in his strong defensive display on Monday and his work at the rucks as well.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) December 27, 2021
‘It’s very fun’
His physical presence in the midfield has been used to good effect by Harlequins, especially when they are in trouble.
“Sometimes there are a few walls to run into, but if it’s my job, it’s my job,” Esterhuizen told BT Sport after the match.
“Sometimes I like it, but sometimes you run into a few big okes.”
He added: “We didn’t play well against Cardiff and Castres [in the European Champions Cup]. It felt like we weren’t quite there.
“It’s just not clicking at the moment like last year, but we know it’s going to click sometimes and today [Monday] we saw glimpses of that.
“We still have a lot of stuff to work on. There are a few glitches in the game, but it’s looking a lot better.”
One thing for sure is that Esterhuizen is enjoying rugby.
“It’s very fun. Throwing the ball around, scoring tries. It’s lovely, eh,” he said.
Meanwhile, there were a few other South Africans who caught the eye in Monday’s game.
Esterhuizen’s teammate, fullback Tyrone Green, was a livewire out wide again with 86 running metres gained from his nine carries.
For Northampton Saints, No.8 Juarno Augustus scored two of his team’s three tries in their defeat.