Brache enters the Lions den
UCT star Marcel Brache has been called up to the WP bench for Friday night’s Currie Cup encounter with the Lions in Johannesburg – capping a fairytale rise for the former Internal League star.
Last year this time, Brache was playing in UCT’s Steinhoff Internal League for the Tornadoes – until he was spotted by Ikeys head coach John Dobson who thought he had something special.
Brache was invited to train with the Ikey Tigers Varsity Cup squad and, after impressing in a pre-season friendly against the Stormers, was handed a start in UCT’s Varsity Cup opener against Shimlas.
To steal a well-used cliché, the rest – as they say – is history, with Brache featuring in every one of UCT’s matches during the 2010 Varsity Cup; his elusive running, deadly defence and long-range goalkicking helping his team into the final where they went down to the Maties.
Since then, he has been training with WP – and also playing for UCT – even earning a first provincial start in a pre-season friendly against the Griffons in July.
Now, however, the talented outside back is on the verge of what would be a stunning Currie Cup debut – yet another feather in the cap of the Varsity Cup AND the Steinhoff Koshuisrugby Championship.
When contacted by varsitycup.co.za this week, a clearly elated Brache said: “When my name was read out my jaw literally hit the ground!
“It’s been a boyhood dream of mine [to play for WP]… Just to be in the 22 is an honour – even if I don’t play.”
The former Rondebosch Boys’ High School pupil (who mostly played second team rugby at school – with cricket his preferred choice) played at outside centre during the Varsity Cup – with the odd game at fullback – and even turned out on the wing during the initial stages of the 2010 WP Super League for the Ikeys.
Western Province seem to rate him as a wing or fullback option, but his presence on the bench – alongside that of fellow utility, Maties ace Conrad Hoffmann – gives the Capetonians plenty of options from the pine against the resurgent Lions.
Brache and Hoffmann are amongst five Varsity Cup players on the WP bench (joining Callie Visagie, Buhle Mxunyelwa and De Kock Steenkamp), with starting backs JJ Engelbrecht, Tim Whitehead and Paul Bosch also products of this exciting tournament.
The Western Province team: 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 JJ Engelbrecht, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Paul Bosch, 11 Frikkie Welsh, 10 Willem de Waal, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Nick Köster, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Anton van Zyl (captain), 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 JD Moller.
Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Wicus Blaauw, 18 Buhle Mxunyelwa, 19 De Kock Steenkamp, 20 Pieter Myburgh, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Marcel Brache.