Naas commits to Cape Town

Naas Olivier has told that he will wear the blue and white of Western Province from 2007, and is urgently seeking a release from his Leopards contract so that he can continue with the Cape side in the Currie Cup this year.

Olivier, who was drafted by the Stormers as emergency flyhalf cover, impressed in a 40 minute cameo against the Cheetahs and in his first start against the Force last weekend.

Speaking from the Stormers team hotel in Auckland, Olivier confirmed that his future is with both the Cape’s sides.

“My Leopards contract expires at the end of the year, so I’ll definitely be here for the Super 14 next year and the Currie Cup, but I am fighting at the moment to be released for this year. I love it in Cape Town and want to play my rugby here, but it really is the Leopards’ call,” Olivier said.

When pressed for a opinion, Olivier doubted whether the Leopard would release him from his contract prematurely.

“It’s up to them hey. I don’t think [Leopards coach] Jacques Hanekom is going to let me come down. They have a young side and I have an important role to play there.”

Olivier admitted that his rapid progression from anonymity to first-choice flyhalf at the country’s most well supported franchise still stuns him.

“It hasn’t really sunk in. I was planning to spend another whole year at the Leopards, and it was my goal at the end of this year to get into a Super 14 squad, be it the Cats, Sharks, Stormers or whoever. I got an opportunity down here, and before I blinked I was in a match 22. When my opportunity came it was ahead of schedule, but I knew I had to take it.”

Olivier said that he had doubts about the competitiveness of the Cape side’s pack when he arrived, but after seven games believes he’s seen enough to commit to the cause.

“I was concerned coming down here about the forwards holding their ground. For a 10 to be successful, the pack has to hold its own. It’s that simple, and the Stormers have never been renowned as having a big pack. The guys have really put their hands up, though, and I believe they can compete with any pack in the country.”

Olivier feels that his style of play complements the Stormers’ style, and promises that tries will no longer be scarce when he wears 10.

“It’s always been my style, I’m a very attacking player. Last year with the Leopards we didn’t do that well on defence, but we scored a lot of tries. My goal is to bring back that spark to the Stormers backs, everyone knows what I’m talking about.”

Olivier starts as flyhalf for the Stormers against the Blues on Saturday.

By Chris Hewitt