Claiming the spotlight

Andries Bekker is finally ready to succeed Victor Matfield as South Africa’s master and commander.

The 2012 season is Bekker’s time to step into the light as the Boks’ marshal of a set piece all rugby nations revere. He’s ready for the responsibility and ready to put what he’s learned into action.

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‘Ever since I was a schoolboy I’ve dreamed about starting at No 5 for the Boks,’ says Bekker, who at 27 has played just 24 Tests and started a mere three in this position. ‘I understood why I wasn’t picked ahead of Victor, but now that he’s moved on I want to be running the show. I want to be playing as many Tests as I can. With Victor gone, international rugby is now my primary focus.’

Bekker also talks to SA Rugby magazine about his battles with injury and his own personal demons, Rassie Erasmus’s resignation as WP senior professional coach, the next generation of locks in the Cape, and why he will stay loyal to WP and the Stormers.

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Also in the new issue, on sale this week:

– How Rassie Erasmus was forced out of the Western Province set-up by self-serving elected officials

Chiliboy Ralepelle wants to produce his best form for the Bulls this season and challenge Bismarck du Plessis for the Springbok No 2 jersey

– It’s taken four years to rebuild the Sharks backline following a damaging player exodus

Heyneke Meyer has what it takes to get the Springboks back to the top – and keep them there

– The Baby Boks will be well prepared for the Junior World Championship in June

Percentage rugby is a proven recipe for success, according to Rassie Erasmus and Heyneke Meyer

– For a long stretch they’ve been Super Rugby’s Kiwi doormats, but the Highlanders could be about to turn a corner

– Reds coach Ewen McKenzie joins the SA Rugby magazine team as a columnist

– Teenage flank Liam Gill wants to kick on from his successful first season for the Reds

– Maties are using GPS technology to monitor their players’ performance

– Coaches should be making their selections for the 2012 Six Nations with the 2015 World Cup in mind

– Former Sharks centre Brad Barritt went to London to study and ended up playing for England

PLUS: A GIANT 2012 FIXTURES POSTER!