robdylan

Spreading his wings: Sharksworld chats to Len Olivier


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks on 7 Oct 2008 at 13:09
Tagged with : ,

Sharksworld managed to catch up with new Sharks recruit Len Olivier for a quick chat.

Olivier, who is 22 years old, has played for the Valke since 2007. He’s been on the sidelines in recent weeks with an injury, so we asked how that was going. “I’m fine now,” he tells us, “I was probably about 90% ok to play this weekend, but Rudy [Joubert] told me he’d rather have me fit for the promotion-relegation games”. Having finished last in the Currie Cup Premier Division this year (on points difference), the Valke need to beat the Platinum Leopards home and away over the next fortnight to maintain their position in the top flight.

Olivier doesn’t seem too concerned at the prospect, though: “They’ll probably struggle with the pace of the game. We’re used to it, playing against Springboks, even though sometimes we lose by big margins.” He may have a point. Despite losing every single game in the Currie Cup last year, the Valke had no problems winning both relegation matches last year, highlighting the gulf in class between the two divisions of the Currie Cup.

We asked Len to give us a bit of background on where he comes from. “I grew up in Pretoria and went to Affies, where I played in the first team in 2003 and 2004.” I told Len that I had been to Pretoria Boys High and we had a great time reminiscing about the Souties beating a star-studded Affies team, captained by Pierre Spies, in Olivier’s standard 9 year. “That was the only time I lost to Boys’ High,” Len points out, so I kept my mouth shut from that point!

“I played Craven Week and then u19 and u21 rugby for the Bulls,” Olivier continues, “and we won most of our competitions at that level.” Faced with a difficult decision ahead of the 2006 season, Len and his father (also Len Olivier, a former provincial assistant coach) decided that the youngster’s best chance of career progression was to play senior rugby for a smaller union. Len tells us “Derrick Hougaard and Morne Steyn were the two senior flyhalves at the Bulls, and Jacques-Louis Potgieter and I played in the Vodacom Cup. He started six games and I started six games but because I was still a junior player, he went to the senior side and I stayed with the under 21s.

“I’m a different sort of guy. I can’t sit back and wait for things to happen; I want to play.” Olivier agreed a two-year deal with the Valke, but says it was always considered a stepping-stone for him, a way to get noticed playing against the big boys and hopefully secure a senior contract with a big union.

“I signed a contract with [French club] Aurilliac at the beginning of the season, but there were some things I still wasn’t happy about. You need to get a release from SARU before you can go to another country anyway, so the contract wasn’t really binding without that. Then we had a run of four or five very good matches with the Valke, starting off with losing narrowly to the Lions and the Sharks and then going on to beat Griquas and Western Province. [Sharks commercial manager] Rudolf Straueli called me after the WP game, while we were on the bus to Bloemfontein, to say they wanted to have a look at me.”

The Sharks flew Olivier to Durban to meet with coaches John Plumtree and Grant Bashford. “I stayed at Adrian Garvey’s guest house and they showed me around and took me through some videos, highlighting aspects of my game they thought were good and ones that needed attention,” Olivier tells us. “They particularly liked the way I attack the advantage line and can make decisions at the point of contact, although they want me to put on 4 or 5 kilos to make sure I can be effective knocking big guys back in the tackle. They were satisfied with my place-kicking.”

Olivier tells us that the high-risk running game the Valke have employed all season lead the Sharks coaches to enquire as to whether he had any sort of tactical boot. “I told them that playing for the Bulls I used to be very much a kicking flyhalf. You know how they like to play the game! I haven’t had to use my boot much with the game the Valke are playing.”

We asked Len if the coaches had laid out the role they see him playing. He said “they have a two-year-plan for me, which means Currie Cup next year and definitely Super 14 in 2010. They haven’t ruled out next year’s Super 14, though, so it’s up to me to see how I develop.” Olivier reckons his goals are realistic and he intends to take incremental steps towards his ultimate goal of playing Test rugby. “Some of us develop a little slower than the guys like Frans Steyn or Pierre Spies who are ready for Test rugby straight after school,” he says. Len realises that he first needs to get into the Sharks squad, then play Super 14 rugby and excel at that level before being considered for higher honours.

We spoke about the difficulty of playing against his good friends at the Bulls. Len is still very good mates with Pierre Spies and Deon Stegmann, amongst others. “You can be mates off the field, but you never think about that when you’re playing the game. Anyway, since I play at flyhalf, I concentrate a lot more on my own game and the things I need to do, rather than worrying about the other guys.”

Len Olivier has big things ahead. His contract with the Valke ends at the end of the month and he needs to report for pre-season training with the Sharks as early as the third week in November. In between, he has to face the small matter of moving from Pretoria (where he stays with his folks) to Durban, to a rented place of his own that he has yet to find. Len reckons the support of his girlfriend, Brunhilde Louw, is a real blessing to him as she is taking a leap of faith and moving to Durban too, despite the couple not being engaged yet.

Len Olivier is ready to make his mark at the Shark tank. “I’ve got the ability, now I just need to work hard and show what I can do,” he says. We have every faith in him and can’t wait to see him in action in the black and white.

Welcome to the Sharks, Len Olivier!



32 Comments

  • Seems like a levelheaded grounded chap. :cool:

    doen’t expect to just walk into the side.

  • Comment 1, posted at 07.10.08 13:16:35 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • may I just point out what an absolutely great guy Len is… what a pleasure to talk to him.

  • Comment 2, posted at 07.10.08 13:17:17 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
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  • So when are they getting engaged? :mrgreen:

  • Comment 3, posted at 07.10.08 13:19:20 by McLovin Reply

    McLovinAssistant coach
     
  • @McLovin (Comment 3) : he he… reading between the lines

  • Comment 4, posted at 07.10.08 13:23:44 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 2) :

    and dont forget the “pleasure to look at”… :wink:

  • Comment 5, posted at 07.10.08 13:26:46 by I'ce (Rebel With a Cause) Reply
    Competition Winner IceAssistant coach
     
  • highlighting aspects of my game they thought were good and ones that needed attention

    They were just trying to drive the contract price down :wink:

  • Comment 6, posted at 07.10.08 13:28:50 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • What a great interview!

    Thanks for being so open Len, and I really hope that your career takes off in a big way with us – I have enjoyed watching you this season.

  • Comment 7, posted at 07.10.08 13:34:35 by Big Fish (Norman Jordaan is a LEGEND) Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 2) :
    Big up to you Rob – you have a great interviewing style – like Ali G.

  • Comment 8, posted at 07.10.08 13:35:52 by Big Fish (Norman Jordaan is a LEGEND) Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Norman Jordaan is a LEGEND) (Comment 8) : it’s cos I’s black

  • Comment 9, posted at 07.10.08 13:38:25 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Norman Jordaan is a LEGEND) (Comment 7) :

    @Big Fish (Norman Jordaan is a LEGEND) (Comment 8) :

    I second that. I feel like I already know more about Len than I do about some high profile players who have been around forever.

    scrap the Feel bit. I DO know more already.

  • Comment 10, posted at 07.10.08 13:39:40 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 10) : well, I will try and get more guys to agree to interviews

  • Comment 11, posted at 07.10.08 13:59:03 by robdylan (Go Sharks!) Reply
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  • @robdylan (Go Sharks!) (Comment 11) :

    hey! I will agree to an interview…if yuoo cannot get hold of the big shots… :wink:

  • Comment 12, posted at 07.10.08 14:03:21 by I'ce (Rebel With a Cause) Reply
    Competition Winner IceAssistant coach
     
  • Really rate this laaitie…hope to meet him soon… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 13, posted at 07.10.08 14:11:38 by Charlie Reply

    CharlieSuper Rugby player
     
  • @Charlie (Comment 13) :

    Whats so funny Charlie?? Dont tell me you have met him ALREADY?? :wink:

  • Comment 14, posted at 07.10.08 14:13:40 by I'ce (Rebel With a Cause) Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Norman Jordaan is a LEGEND) (Comment 8) :

    No way Rob can claim to have an Ali G interview style!

    If he did the first paragraph would have looked like this:

    Olivia, who iz 22 years batty, has played fe da valke since 2007. he’s bin on da sidelines in recent weeks wiv an injury, so we asked how dat wuz gwaan. “i’m wicked now,” e tells us, “i wuz probably about 90% wicked to play dis weekend, but rudy [joubert] told me he’d ratha as me fit fe da promotion-relegashun games”. havin finished last in da currie cup premia division dis year (on points difference), da valke need to mash-up da platinum leopards turf an’ away ova da next fortnight to maintain dare posishun in da top flight.

  • Comment 15, posted at 07.10.08 14:26:00 by MorneN Reply
    Author
    MornéTeam captain
     
  • Or the last paragraph:

    Lun olivia iz ready to make iz mark hat da shark tank. “i’ve got da ability, now I just need to wurk ard an’ show wot I can do,” e says. we as every faith in I is an’ can’t wait to chek I is in acshun in da blak an’ honkey. welcome to da sharks, lun olivia!

  • Comment 16, posted at 07.10.08 14:28:39 by MorneN Reply
    Author
    MornéTeam captain
     
  • This interview raises a new question for me.

    I thought Len Olivier was going to be our S14 flyhalf. From the interview it seems They haven’t ruled out next year’s Super 14, though, so it’s up to me to see how I develop. So then WHO is going to be our flyhalf next year?

    If Ruan, then he should be playing there NOW already.
    If Frans, then he should be playing there now already.

  • Comment 17, posted at 07.10.08 14:38:19 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 17) :

    Ag okay it is me alright.

    Promised I would not say but not many people read this site :)

  • Comment 18, posted at 07.10.08 14:42:12 by MorneN Reply
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    MornéTeam captain
     
  • @MorneN (Comment 16) : nice…

  • Comment 19, posted at 07.10.08 14:45:42 by robdylan (Go Sharks!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
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  • @MorneN (Comment 18) :

    :razz:

    I ain’t going to go THERE. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 20, posted at 07.10.08 14:46:00 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 20) :

    :)

  • Comment 21, posted at 07.10.08 14:50:30 by MorneN Reply
    Author
    MornéTeam captain
     
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 20) :

    You guys speaking in the sectret code again…that is just plain BAD MANNERS… :roll:

  • Comment 22, posted at 07.10.08 14:51:46 by I'ce (Rebel With a Cause) Reply
    Competition Winner IceAssistant coach
     
  • @I’ce (Rebel With a Cause) (Comment 22) :

    Afraid no code, Morne was just trying to make us think we had less traffic than some other sites. :smile:

  • Comment 23, posted at 07.10.08 14:53:58 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 23) :

    :mrgreen: :mrgreen: To me…most things are code…so see my point here.. :wink:

  • Comment 24, posted at 07.10.08 14:54:49 by I'ce (Rebel With a Cause) Reply
    Competition Winner IceAssistant coach
     
  • @I’ce (Rebel With a Cause) (Comment 24) :

    :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 25, posted at 07.10.08 14:58:38 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • @I’ce (Rebel With a Cause) (Comment 24) :

    you mean anything not explained slowly and without pictures is code? :razz:

  • Comment 26, posted at 07.10.08 14:59:35 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 26) :

    Just about…ja… :oops:
    :mrgreen:

  • Comment 27, posted at 07.10.08 15:03:17 by I'ce (Rebel With a Cause) Reply
    Competition Winner IceAssistant coach
     
  • @MorneN (Comment 15) :
    Big up yerself!

    @I’ce (Rebel With a Cause) (Comment 24) :
    But we loves ya anyways!

  • Comment 28, posted at 07.10.08 15:04:43 by Big Fish (Norman Jordaan is a LEGEND) Reply
    Author
    Big FishAssistant coach
     
  • @Big Fish (Norman Jordaan is a LEGEND) (Comment 28) :

    That, Fishy , is my only comfort.. :wink:

  • Comment 29, posted at 07.10.08 15:08:24 by I'ce (Rebel With a Cause) Reply
    Competition Winner IceAssistant coach
     
  • Those of you that know me will realise how amazing this is. :mrgreen:

    I have just read this article a second time. :oops:

  • Comment 30, posted at 07.10.08 18:50:19 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 30) :
    I’m truly amazed. :shock:

    I didn’t know you could read!

  • Comment 31, posted at 07.10.08 19:36:42 by Big Fish (Norman Jordaan is a LEGEND) Reply
    Author
    Big FishAssistant coach
     
  • @robdylan (Go Sharks!) (Comment 11) :

    I’ve noticed a lot of the sharks guys disbanding Facebook in droves… :wink:

  • Comment 32, posted at 08.10.08 03:01:28 by bryce_in_oz Reply

    bryce_in_ozCurrie Cup player
     

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