Despite only starting two matches in the Vodacom Super 14, Neil de Kock has pledged his future to the Stormers and Western Province.
Speaking to keo.co.za from the Cape side’s base in Brisbane, De Kock again reflected on a team announcement showing his name bracketed amongst the substitutes after he was forced from the field in the 70th minute of the Stormers’ loss to the Chiefs last weekend.
“I’ve been struggling to train this week and it’s been a bit of race to get fit,” De Kock said. “It made sense to bracket me on the bench for this game, although I’m hopeful I’ll be fully fit.”
The injury niggle is unfortunate as De Kock was the stand-out Stormer in only his second start on the weekend. Excelling at cover defence, his passing, positional play and kicking from the base were also consistently good.
De Kock is honest enough to admit his frustration at his lack of game time this season, but stressed that he is not considering leaving Newlands.
“Every player wants to start, that’s what you train for. I don’t want to be on the bench all the time, and I enjoyed seeing all the training effort rewarded on the weekend.
“Bolla got the first bite of the cherry this year and he’s performed very well. In a coach’s ideal world, I’m sure he’d love to be able to rotate, but as soon as the competition starts going against you then it’s a lot more difficult.
“It is a tough decision I face, however, and a lot of people have asked me if I will move. To be honest, though, a similar situation exists at virtually every other province because of the strength of the halfbacks in this country. I still feel I have a lot to offer Province. It’s always been home and has always been the side I wanted to play and play well for.
“Looking forward, we are going to need guys to carry the flag when the Boks are away. That is a big responsibility and I feel I can contribute in this regard.”
At 27, De Kock is beginning to enter his prime, but has discounted a move overseas. He believes that if the current coaching staff are stuck with, the return of the glory days to Newlands is more inevitability than possibility.
“I’m not considering the overseas option yet. Western Province have been helluva good to me, and I firmly believe that the coaching team and the structures need to stay consistent. If that is done, I know we are on the verge of something very special here. When it clicks, we will surprise a lot of people.”
By Chris Hewitt