In 1968, Brian Borgen made a dramatic debut for Natal and now, four decades later, 23-year-old Andrew is following in his father’s footsteps.
Craig Lewis reports for IOL.
Borgen junior recently played his first match for the Sharks in a pre-season friendly against the Griffons, and this past weekend was named on the bench as the Sharks overcame Western Province 28-25 in the opening round of the Currie Cup.
With the game going down to the wire, the inexperienced Borgen was not called upon to take to the field but this weekend could well be the occasion in which he earns his first Currie Cup cap.
First choice flyhalf Brad Barritt is nursing a few injury niggles and if he fails to recover in time for this Friday’s clash, Borgen could well find himself in the starting line-up.
If not, his time will surely come in the near future as the humble but determined youngster says he is determined to make his dad proud.
And interestingly, both he and his father had very similar journeys leading up to their selection for the Sharks.
Both grew up and were schooled in Durban, both played for Natal U20 and both always dreamed of playing for their province.
Borgen senior was just 18 when he was called up at the last minute to play for Natal against the Griquas in Kimberley, the start of a four-year career that would see him play over 30 games alongside legends such as Ray Carlson, Hannes Viljoen, Keith Oxley and Willem Labuschagne among many others.
Brian said he was extremely proud of his son.
“His family has always supported him and he has always done well. Though we tried not to interfere too much and rather just let things take their own course.
“I’m very positive about his future, but the reality is that there are a lot of other good players around and we accept that.”
“However, I have faith in him as a person and as a player and I think he will go far,” Brian added.
And Borgen junior has really burst back onto the Durban scene this year after returning from England where he played for club sides Leeds Tykes and Rotherham Titans.
Upon his return he had a trial with the Cape-based Stormers but he was spotted by Sharks personnel and asked by them to return to Durban.
“My heart was always with Durban and I was absolutely thrilled when it was suggested I come back,” he said.
“I have always wanted to play here, it’s been a life-long dream of mine with my dad having played for Natal.”
“It’s just such a wonderful place to be and I knew it would be an honour and a privilege to be given an opportunity to play here. I’m going to give it my best shot and hopefully this year has a lot to offer.”
Borgen played a few games for Durban-based club side College Rovers at the beginning of the year and two matches for the Wildebeest before the start of the Currie Cup.
He said it was a “privilege” to be training among his heroes and humbly asserted that he was remaining firmly grounded.
“Personally I would just like to prove myself a bit and get some game time. I still need to prove what I can do and show what I’m worth. If I can do that then maybe I can cement a place for myself in the future, but for now I’m just taking it one day at a time.”
“I really just want to learn from all the brilliant players around me,” he added. “In this game anything can happen and you just have to make sure you take your opportunity when you get it.”
And how much of an influence has his father had on his career?
“I’m just so fortunate to have a father like I do. He played his first game for Natal when he was 18 but has never put pressure on me.
“He has always been behind me and been my biggest supporter.”
“It’s also great to be able to turn to someone who has played rugby at this level. It’s still early days for me, but he can relate to that and I just feel very fortunate. Hopefully I can do him proud.”Tweet