Nick Koster, a 19-year-old Western Province rookie, has been invited to play for the Barbarians against the Australian rugby touring team at Twickenham on December 3.
Stephen Nell writes in Die Burger that Koster will join WP Springboks Schalk Burger, Jean de Villiers and Percy Montgomery in the match against the Wallabies.
Koster, who showed outstanding promise in his first Currie Cup season this year, was over the moon when he received the news on Monday.
“I’m very excited; I feel really privileged,” he said. “I always thought it (playing for the Barbarians) would be a wonderful experience towards the end of my career. It came much earlier than I could have hoped.”
The youngster is looking forward to playing in the company of All Black captain Richie McCaw and other stars.
He also sees it as a great opportunity to be coached by Jake White, who took the Springboks to World Cup glory in 2007. “I have immense respect for him,” he said.
Can hardly believe it is true
Koster confessed to being caught on the wrong foot by the invitation. “I have learnt one should expect anything but I can hardly believe this is true. But a lot of things have happened this year that I did not expect.”
WP professional coach Rassie Erasmus welcomed Koster’s selection. “The more experience he gains at that level the better. He is good enough, and very mature,” Erasmus said.
“He is also physical enough. At the age of 19, he weights 106kg.”
“It’s wonderful for Nick. I had to wait until I was 27 before I could play for the Barbarians,” the former Springbok loose forward said.
Erasmus added that he would stand in no one’s way to play for the Barbarians. He will leave it to the players to decide whether they are mentally and physically up to playing in another first-class match.”
Erasmus denied on Monday that WP had signed Cheetahs loose forward Duane Vermeulen. However, the union is certainly interested in him.
“I brought Duane from the Pumas to the Cheetahs,” Erasmus said. “I will be wonderful if he’d like to join us (WP) but at this stage it’s only a rumour.
“We’ll have to see whether he has recovered from his injuries, but no contract has been signed with him,” Erasmus said.
Rob Wagner, managing director of WP Rugby (Pty) Limited, confirmed Erasmus’s words.Tweet