To captain the Grey College 1st XV is no easy feat, but to achieve this privilege in only his second year at the proud rugby school makes this achievement even more illustrious for this 18-year-old.
The Bloemfontein eighthman commands so much respect that straight after moving from local rivals Jim Fouche in 2007, he was fast-tracked to the 1st XV while still in Grade 11.
Grey coach Dries van der Wal says Theisinger deserves the accolades.
‘Adriaan is very popular among his fellow players and he has also earned the respect of his peers and opposition alike,’ he says. ‘I first saw him when Grey were playing against Jim Fouche two years ago. I was immediately impressed with his physical presence on the field. He’s a massive guy, and he had a high work rate during that entire match.’
The monumental performance from Theisinger helped Jim Fouche hold Grey to a 5-all draw that day, a result definitely worth shouting about. From that performance, the bustling No 8 was always destined for bigger things – Van der Wal knew instantly that the youngster had to come to Grey.
Standing at 1.96m and weighing 100kg, Theisinger is an imposing figure. In addition to his natural stature he trains relentlessly in the gym and on the field.
Due to his height and size, there was always going to be an attempt to move Theisinger to lock. This experiment was tried, and it failed.
‘In Grade 10 he played there a while, but he didn’t like it. He’s a natural eighthman so he won’t be moving again,’ explains Van der Wal.
At the time of writing in 2008 Theisinger had led Grey to five wins in five matches.
‘His form has been magnificent this season and he has undoubtedly been a major contributor to the team’s success,’ says Van der Wal. ‘He is a very strong and agile player who communicates well on the field, and this is vital for any captain. His knowledge of the game is another aspect that sets him apart from other players.’
Theisinger has come through the representative ranks in the province and played No 8 for the Free State Craven Week team in 2007. He also represented Free State U16 in 2006.
Theisinger plans on playing professional rugby in 2009 and will stay at the Free State Rugby Union. His older brother Bernd plays centre for the Cheetahs in the Vodacom Cup, and it would seem Adriaan will reach that level, and beyond, very soon.
By Grant Ball