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Tinus De Beer: The Bulls fan turned Cardiff 10 who idolised an Englishman

By Simon Thomas
Tinus De Beer of Cardiff Rugby is watched over by Matt Sherratt Head Coach of Cardiff Rugby during the BKT United Rugby Championship match between The Dragons RFC and Cardiff Rugby at Rodney Parade on October 29, 2023 in Newport, Wales. (Photo by Huw Fairclough/Getty Images)

Cardiff Rugby have certainly had their money’s worth out of Tinus De Beer since he arrived from South Africa last summer.

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The fly-half has started all 19 games for the Arms Park outfit in the BKT URC and Investec Champions Cup this season. Remarkably, he has been on the field for all but 82 minutes of the campaign.

“Whatever he cost, he’s been money’s worth,” said head coach Matt Sherratt.

“He’s been excellent. What you see in terms of his effort out there is a reflection of what he does in the week.

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Jannes Kirsten on his first game back

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Jannes Kirsten on his first game back

“He’s been a great addition to the club on and off the pitch.”

The place-kicking De Beer has racked up 138 points this season, with 108 of those coming in the URC, making him the competition’s fourth highest scorer.

He has returned to his homeland this week with Cardiff facing back-to-back league games against the Emirates Lions and Hollywoodbets Sharks in Johannesburg and Durban respectively.

“I think he will be looking forward to that,” said Sherratt.

“He’s probably got a bit of a point to prove out there. He never quite crept into one of the Super Rugby teams.”

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To coincide with “Kids Round” in the URC, De Beer has been talking this week about his childhood days, kicking off with his sporting hero when he was growing up.

Given he is South African, the identity of his role model may come as something of a surprise.

“Because of the blond hair, it was probably Johnny Wilkinson,” he reveals.

“He was brilliant in the 2003 World Cup. Blond hair, leftie… I always practiced those drop goals in the back yard.”

As for how his own rugby journey began back in Pretoria, the 28-year-old says: “I started playing when I was about six years old. My father was my club coach.

Tinus de Beer

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“It was basically you get chucked on the field and just run around with the ball.

“I think the first present I got was probably a rugby ball. I just fell in love with the sport from day one.”

In terms of his earliest memories of going to games, he says: “It was the Bulls at the start, they were my home team.

“I used to go to Loftus as a kid to watch. I grew up playing in the back fields there, having a braai outside the stadium and watching the rugby. They are lovely memories.”

Coming up through the Blue Bulls system, De Beer represented South Africa at Schools and U20s level, going on to have spells with the Griquas and Pumas before moving to Wales last summer. He has loved his time at the Arms Park and particularly likes the way young fans are able to come on the pitch at the end of matches.

Tinus de Beer
Tinus de Beer of The Airlink Pumas during the Currie Cup, Premier Division semi final match between Cell C Sharks and Airlink Pumas at Hollywoodbets Kings Park on June 17, 2023 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Steve Haag Sports/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

“As a kid, you obviously enjoy the game, but you can’t wait for the final whistle to go and then it’s your time to get on to the pitch and get some signatures and stuff,” he says.

“So it’s special to see that every time we finish our home games, just to have all those kids on the pitch and take pictures with them and do signatures.

“It meant the world to me back then, so I just know it means a lot to them.”

As for how he has found life in Wales, he says: “It’s completely different to back home where the ball is dry.

“It rains a lot of the time. It’s wet and windy, so it’s a little bit of a contrast to South Africa. It’s more of a chess game because of those conditions.

“But off the field, people are so welcoming and the club has been so supportive. The boys are phenomenal.

“It just makes it easier for a guy coming from another country, stepping in. I have completely embraced it.”

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