Naas’s big break
13 Jan 2006
Leopards flyhalf Naas Olivier was given the opportunity of a lifetime when he was invited to Stormers training.
With Ulster’s David Humphreys unable to get out of his existing contract, Olivier was the only other option for the Cape franchise, who require back-up for first choice flyhalf Peter Grant.
Grant wore the No 10 jersey during Western Province’s 2005 Currie Cup campaign, but question marks remain over his ability to step up to the Super 14 plate, especially after his shaky performance against Free State in the semi-final.
Olivier impressed during the Currie Cup for the Potch-based minnows. He finished fifth on the points-scoring list with 71, eight points behind Grant, and kept his team afloat during the Top Eight phase of the competition.
The 23-year-old was preparing himself for another season of Vodacom Cup rugby, when the call came from the Stormers.
“It was quite a surprise when I heard the news,” Olivier told Die Burger. “I went from the airport straight to the training field. However, I fitted in quickly with the other players because they made me feel very welcome. It’s always nice to get acknowledgement for good play.”
Olivier will find out next week whether he has made the Stormers’ 30-man squad. If he does, there’s no reason why he can’t challenge Grant for the black No 10 jersey.
In an interview with SA Rugby magazine last year, Grant acknowledged the challenge that would face him in the Super 14.
“It’s a scary thought having to come up against those guys,” he laughed. “But then I remind myself that Dan Carter is only 22 years old. There’s no reason why I can’t play well against him. The only way I can develop as a flyhalf is to play against the best on a regular basis.”
Olivier, no doubt, feels the same way.