Catching up with Big Vic

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Springboks on 22 Nov 2010 at 10:46
Tagged with : ,

There wasn’t a lot of positivity amongst any of the South African contingent at the post-match press conference at Murrayfield on Saturday. Having just watched the Boks lose unexpectedly to Scotland – and dish up some utter dross in the process – smiles and laughs were thin on the ground.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I ran into none other than our very own “Big Vic”, Sharks flanker Willem Alberts, after the official interview were over. If ever there was a man who must know the meaning of mixed emotions, it’s the massive former Monument back-rower, whose personal test career could not have started better – thanks to two tries in as many appearances. The Boks, as a team, are not coming up to scratch on this tour, but one thing that cannot be faulted is Alberts’ personal contribution, form or (most importantly), aptitude for test rugby. Once the regular crew of “seasoned” journos took their dictaphones off in the direction of Bismarck du Plessis, Alberts appeared to heave a sigh of relief and was quite surprised when I not only addressed him as “Vic”, but also introduced myself as a long-time Facebook friend/stalker as well as Sharks fan of some repute.

“Hey Rob!”, exclaimed the big man, a broad smile cracking his previously sombre face as he realised he was in the presence of a friend. “It’s nice to finally meet you”.

Mixed emotions indeed – the necessary and appropriate level of contrition given that he had, unfortunately, just played a part in one of the Springboks more ignominious defeats in recent years, but also an undisguised sparkle in his eyes in recognition of the dramatic upward swing in his personal fortunes since making the move to the Sharks at the beginning of the season. This time last year, Alberts, as a Lions player, had seen his team miss out on the semi-finals of the Currie Cup and was as far from a Bok cap as I am. A short 12 months later and he has a Currie Cup winners medal, two test caps and a pair of tries to go with them.

“That’s a record I’m going to try and keep up,” he reveals when we discuss his try-scoring exploits, even though he will concede that the effort against Scotland was a rather fortuitous one, Alberts pouncing on a wayward lineout through meant for Victor Matfield and barrelling over the line while the Scots’ attention was elsewhere. Not that it matters, of course – you take your test tries from whence they come. You get the feeling, though, that Vic is not one to complain about his lot in life anyway, realising how truly blessed he is to be where he is – enjoying the opportunity of a lifetime. “Ja, things are going so well, hey,” he confirms, “I wouldn’t change anything at all”.

There is a sense of frustration, though, that the Boks aren’t playing to their strengths. “We could probably keep the ball in hand more and try to get over the advantage line,” is his guarded response to the question. “We’re also hoping that the three Sharks loose forwards might be able to play together against the Barbarians. We understand each other well and are a good combination, so maybe the coaches will think it’s worth a try.” Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to get into that in any more detail, as Alberts had to leave to attend the post-match meeting. “I’ll probably be forced to have a drink for that try,” he concedes, not looking as though it was a punishment that he wouldn’t enjoy!

I had to fire a parting shot, of course, so I asked Willem whether Robert Gumede had approached him yet, regarding a move back to the Lions. “There isn’t a big enough cheque in the world,” was his response.


  • awesome! i think most on this site would like to see the sharks loose forwards this coming week, and the springboks adopting more of a sharks pattern of play as opposed to the stupid kick the ball away and wonder why u cant score approach.

  • Comment 1, posted at 22.11.10 10:56:42 by RuckingFun Reply
  • Good for you Willem! Glad you are staying with the Sharks. PdV needs to get his priorities and combinations right. Goodluck against England on Sat.

  • Comment 2, posted at 22.11.10 10:58:25 by Ardent Shark Reply
    Ardent Shark
  • Probably my favourite springbok behind juan smith ,he may just edge it becuase he is a shark 😉

  • Comment 3, posted at 22.11.10 11:01:32 by baw Reply
  • @baw (Comment 3) : FAst becoming one of my favourites….great attitude.

  • Comment 4, posted at 22.11.10 11:05:10 by Just a Fan Reply
    Just a Fan
  • 100% behind him.

    Come to think of it, he migth have had a better year than Lambie!

    Never thought of it that way.

  • Comment 5, posted at 22.11.10 11:07:08 by Original Champion Reply
    Original Pierre
  • Definitely my favourite player. He is going to become a Bok great.

  • Comment 6, posted at 22.11.10 11:09:47 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Spirit of Rugby
  • Cool, and I hope we can see that Sharks Combo one game earlier, but if it is against the barbarains, I hope they have a huge game together.

  • Comment 7, posted at 22.11.10 11:16:34 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Letgo
  • They need to impliment the sharks tactic in the cc this year .It is possibly the best way to keep possesion. For so long the bulls have been kings of the possesion game ,now we have played a sucessful brand that also alows for more expression in terms of the running game that can aslo be reduced to a kicking game .It is not predictable either ,the bulls game plan is. England game I would like to see a distinct sharks flavour …maybe front row,back row ,9 10 13 and wing

  • Comment 8, posted at 22.11.10 11:20:44 by baw Reply
  • @baw (Comment 8) : 😛 The entire team then..nothing wrong with that!

  • Comment 9, posted at 22.11.10 11:26:10 by Just a Fan Reply
    Just a Fan
  • @baw (Comment 8) : suits me, but Matfield will never allow it

  • Comment 10, posted at 22.11.10 11:26:55 by robdylan Reply
  • @Just a Fan (Comment 9) : well except the locks and oh flip frans steyn and pienar can play at fullback and other wing …they are sharkies

  • Comment 11, posted at 22.11.10 11:34:10 by baw Reply
  • @baw (Comment 11) : Frans and Ruan still regarded as Sharkies to me…

  • Comment 12, posted at 22.11.10 11:43:41 by Just a Fan Reply
    Just a Fan
  • @Just a Fan (Comment 12) : Aswell then bj on the bench and might aswell just drop aplon and stegman ,basically if they a wp player they should be refined to playing cc /s15 …;)

  • Comment 13, posted at 22.11.10 11:46:49 by baw Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 10) : after all the flack Smit took I think I can safely say that a more inept captain than Matfield is hard to find! Surely after the 100th kick one has to click that its not working and change 🙁 I think that throw by Bissie was not stray but done on purpose – being tired of marching 20m only to have to run 50m back downfield and start all over again he decided to miss Matfield out and give it to someone who would not give it to someone to kick it away 😉

  • Comment 14, posted at 22.11.10 12:02:23 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply
    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • Awsome arti Rob!

  • Comment 15, posted at 22.11.10 12:03:22 by ruggabugga Reply
  • He sounds like a decent down to earth guy. His Springbok call up was deserved and he deserves to have been utilised better.

  • Comment 16, posted at 22.11.10 12:05:13 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter lostfish
  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 14) : 😳 by it I meant the ball

  • Comment 17, posted at 22.11.10 12:05:37 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply
    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 14) : @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 17) : 😀 u probably right 😆

  • Comment 18, posted at 22.11.10 12:11:17 by Me2 aka Mama Shark Reply
    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • Willem is fast becoming my favorite Shark. Awsome on the field and disciplined. So happy he is a Shark

  • Comment 19, posted at 22.11.10 12:11:51 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply
    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • @lostfish (Comment 16) : Agree with you on all three counts!

  • Comment 20, posted at 22.11.10 12:14:02 by Me2 aka Mama Shark Reply
    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • @baw (Comment 13) : 😆 😆 Agree….

  • Comment 21, posted at 22.11.10 13:45:42 by Just a Fan Reply
    Just a Fan
  • 😎

  • Comment 22, posted at 22.11.10 16:51:04 by rekinek Reply
  • was he really happy to see you Stalker :mrgreen: 😉 is he all right 😆

  • Comment 23, posted at 22.11.10 16:51:47 by rekinek Reply
  • Yeah, the old ‘I can’t talk go to go to a meeting’ excuse. 😈 😉

  • Comment 24, posted at 22.11.10 16:55:48 by McLovin Reply
  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 14) : i am not sure that captain is responsible for game plan.

    anycase – what worries me about matfield is that he gets so openly irritated with refs. I know he may have a point but this is not exactly to the boks advantage.

  • Comment 25, posted at 22.11.10 16:56:00 by rekinek Reply
  • @lostfish (Comment 16) : especially that he offers something different to all other loosies, meaning he seem to be much stronger. I guess this is where Keegan is loosing out – his running skills are not that uncommon.

  • Comment 26, posted at 22.11.10 16:58:17 by rekinek Reply

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