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Unexpected message has given Esterhuizen hope of Springboks recall

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

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Harlequins powerhouse Andre Esterhuizen has received a timely pat on the back from Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber as he attempts to relaunch his stalled Test career. Known as Andre the Giant due to his physique and power, Esterhuizen earned the last of his eight Test caps against Argentina in 2019, the year he missed out on a place in Rassie Erasmus’ World Cup squad.


Esterhuizen, though, has now revealed he recently got a message from the Springboks camp which said head coach Nienaber thought he was playing well at Harlequins where he has been enjoying a brilliant season. 

The 27-year-old sat down with the studio panel of SuperSport’s First XV programme where he told former Springboks Joel Stransky, Hanyani Shimange and Gcobani Bobo about life in the UK. The former Sharks centre, who has set the English Premiership alight since moving there in 2020, had recently told media that he would love to hear from the Springboks head coach.

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That situation has now changed. “I didn’t have any conversation with them for quite a while, I think, since the camps just before the British and Irish Lions series. Just after this last game (for Harlequins), I got a message that he [Nienaber] is saying that I played well,” revealed Esterhuizen.

“There are a lot of teams overseas who want to keep their players, obviously, but they want you to get into international sides as well. 

I have gotten massive support from the (Quins) coaching staff and everyone tries to make everyone better so we can all maybe get into an international side. It is everyone’s dream to play for their country and I’d love to play for them [the Springboks] again. Let’s wait and see.”


Esterhuizen faces a major battle to oust the current Springbok centres Damian de Allende, who is set to quit Munster and head to Japan, and Lukhanyo Am. They have played 22 times together and have become the most effective midfield combination in world rugby. There is also Jesse Kriel in the Springboks squad. 



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