Andries Bekker on fire for the Stormers

Elisha Pearce Columnist

By Elisha Pearce, Elisha Pearce is a Roar Expert

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    Let’s talk about the “tallest outside-centre in the world”, Andries Bekker, the second-row forward from the Stormers.

    He was a titanic figure in the Stormers nail-biting 36-34 win over the Chiefs.

    The quote in the lead was from one of the South African commentators half joking as Bekker took the ball through the Chiefs line and was bought down by the last man after a long run.

    Bekker is surprisingly quick for a man who tops out just below the stratosphere at 211cm (6’11”).

    During the match on the weekend he stood out carrying the ball nine times for 76 metres. A huge impact on the game, especially with the timing of his carries.

    As with the line break, his other carries seemed to punch the ball well over the advantage line just as the Stormers needed someone to lift their performance.

    Adding to the strong work on the ground Bekker managed to win 10 lineouts for the home team as well. This all-round contribution isn’t anything new for Bekker, especially to Stormers fans.

    But his across the park game deserves to be pointed out in a competition where the second row doesn’t seem to have a huge wealth of talent that can compete in every facet of the game.

    Often second rowers seem to be broken up into specialty roles of a jumper or scrum and ruck enforcer.

    Bekker embodies the potential of a player who takes both roles seriously and works them into his game. He’s almost impossible to seal a lineout from but he’s ferocious in his open field and scrummaging work.

    From a Stormers perspective he was only beaten to more rucks by the hugely talented blindside flanker Siyamthanda Kolisi, and Bekker had a ruck turnover to show for it.

    In fact, Bekker has a turnover in every game so far this year.

    This year the Stormers will be looking for an explosive attacking game to pair with their defence that has been stout for years.

    The installation of young Elton Jantjies at fly-half instead of Peter Grant is a testament to that ambition.

    As the Waratahs have learned, all the best intentions of attacking rugby go down the gurgler without having significant go forward up front.

    The Stormers will be relying on the veteran Bekker lead that momentum that provides them with room to attack freely all year. There aren’t any signs so far that he’s shirking that responsibility.

    While developing into one of the most consistently consistent second-rowers in world rugby, Bekker has now amassed 93 caps for the Stormers.

    The strange thing is that this man has only 29 caps in his international career to date.

    He’s 29, but if Nathan Sharpe and Victor Matfield are any indication, Bekker still has plenty of time to add to that tally.

    I expect him to be a big feature for the Springboks later this year, and he’s started the Super Rugby season wonderfully well.

    If you want to learn how a good second rower goes about their trade, flip on the Stormers and watch their big number five go tear into his work.

    Elisha Pearce
    Elisha Pearce

    Long-time Roarer Elisha Pearce joined us as a rugby union expert in 2015. He also works for Fairfax Media and has confused more Roarers with his name than anyone in the history of the site.

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    The Crowd Says (42)

    • March 14th 2013 @ 8:24am
      maximillian said | March 14th 2013 @ 8:24am | ! Report

      hes a top player but has been stuck behind guys like Matfield/Botha for a long time in the national side. Throw in Etzebeth & SA has been blessed with outstanding locks in recent years.

    • Roar Guru

      March 14th 2013 @ 8:36am
      biltongbek said | March 14th 2013 @ 8:36am | ! Report

      Nice piece Elisha.

      I think there are two major reasons for Bekker not having played as many tests as one would expect.

      Injuries- Bekker seemed at one stage to have chronic back problems and in the last few seasons have not been able to complete a full season.

      Competition- when SA had Bakkies, Vicki and Danie Rossouw in the squad it was almost a case of closed shop.

      Where Victor was the line out specialist and Bakkies the enforcer, Bekker is more in the mould of Danie Rossouw combined with some of Vicki.

      He is good at the line outs, but not always. He is a very good ball carrier, if you want to look for an area that could improve it would be his work on the ground and his physicality at the breakdown.

      He definitely prospers in the loose, has good hands and good speed.

      With Juandre Kruger going to Europe at the end of Super Rugby, and Anton Bresler seemingly not getting a chance for the Boks, Bekker (barring injury) should partner Etzebeth in the Bok squad.

      I can’t wait to see Burger back, between him, Kolisi, Vermeulen, Bekker, Etzebeth, Deon Fourie and Nyakane that makes seven very mobile and physical players in the Stormers forward pack.

      Quite formidable of I may say so.

      This youngster Nyakane is seriously impressing me, his defensive capabilities reminds me a lot of Os du randt

      • March 14th 2013 @ 8:58am
        Elisha Pearce said | March 14th 2013 @ 8:58am | ! Report

        Kolisi is someone I’ll be expecting to get chances for the Boks this year. He’s an everywhere man. Tremendous work rate.

        Yeah, Bekker was on the second rung for a while. Now he should get more chances.
        I think his physicality at the breakdown could improve, but he got to a lot of them on the weekend. Obviously he’s trying to work on that part of his game.

        Do you think there are many better all around second rowers in the comp mate? I can’t think of many.

      • March 14th 2013 @ 12:40pm
        Blue said | March 14th 2013 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

        Nyakane plays for the the Cheetahs.

        • Roar Guru

          March 14th 2013 @ 2:54pm
          biltongbek said | March 14th 2013 @ 2:54pm | ! Report

          True, got my thoughts all mangled there for a moment. 🙂

    • Roar Guru

      March 14th 2013 @ 8:41am
      Rusty said | March 14th 2013 @ 8:41am | ! Report

      I cant wait for the Etzebeth Bekker pairing

      • March 14th 2013 @ 8:56am
        Elisha Pearce said | March 14th 2013 @ 8:56am | ! Report

        Neither. Etzbeth and Bekker should be terrifying!

        • March 14th 2013 @ 11:25am
          TembaVJ said | March 14th 2013 @ 11:25am | ! Report

          One of the best Etzbeth moments was when he tackled Bismark DP out cold.

          If Etzbeth can curb and control (not through away) some of his aggression him and Bekker could be ALMOST as good as Vic and Bakkies

          • Roar Guru

            March 14th 2013 @ 2:56pm
            biltongbek said | March 14th 2013 @ 2:56pm | ! Report

            Temba, it was actually the other way round, Etzebeth had the ball and did to Bismarck what Savea did to Dagg on the weekend, albeit in a more spectacular way.

    • March 14th 2013 @ 8:45am
      kingplaymaker said | March 14th 2013 @ 8:45am | ! Report

      It’s all very well having these endless high speed colossal monsters in the South African pack, but when will one of them develop the skill of a Parisse or Reid?

      • Roar Guru

        March 14th 2013 @ 8:49am
        biltongbek said | March 14th 2013 @ 8:49am | ! Report

        And what are those skills KPM?

        Aside of course of the fact that Bekker is a lock, and the two you mention are eighthmen

      • March 14th 2013 @ 11:27am
        TembaVJ said | March 14th 2013 @ 11:27am | ! Report

        KPM are you looking to stirrrrr? 🙂

        I think Bekker beats reid hands down all day long at lock.

    • March 14th 2013 @ 8:52am
      kingplaymaker said | March 14th 2013 @ 8:52am | ! Report

      Hands, vision, elusiveness. If you saw Parisse’s pass last weekend to Zanni you’d follow the meaning.

      Generally South African forwards are huge, fast, powerhouse battering rams. But that is not all they could be. If more was expected, more might be developed.

      • Roar Guru

        March 14th 2013 @ 9:13am
        biltongbek said | March 14th 2013 @ 9:13am | ! Report

        Don’t agree with you at all. Once again more a perception than truth.

        Have you seen the improvement in Schalk Burger’s game at the end of 2011 during the world cup, I reckon he made more offloads than any other Springbok during the RWC.

        kolisi, have you seen his hands, his viosion with ball in hand, always looking for the support runner.

        Have you seen the sublime pass Bekker made this weekend , he first went on the dummy then ran straight and then passed?

        Have you seen Kankowski, Keegan Daniel?

        There are plenty of “skilled” forwards in SA, but sadly they are all put in the same category due to perceptions.

        Most likely coming from the same mindset that beleives the Boks kick the most and never attack from recieving a deep kick.

        • March 14th 2013 @ 11:26am
          Markus said | March 14th 2013 @ 11:26am | ! Report

          When you have backrowers as physical as Alberts and Vermeulen, you don’t necessarily need a number 8 to possess world-class linking games too. I’d definitely take either of those players in a heartbeat for the Wallabies.

          I really don’t see the appeal of Keegan Daniel. A smart player with a strong workrate for sure, but he can’t pilfer at the breakdown and is lighter than most backs running around these days. At 188cm he really should be around the 105kg mark, not the mid-90s.

          Mind you, I think Parisse is fairly overrated too. I don’t recall him ever looking all that threatening against the Wallabies.

          • Roar Guru

            March 14th 2013 @ 2:58pm
            biltongbek said | March 14th 2013 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

            Agree with you on Daniel, but for the purposes of KPM’s argument, I was talking skills with ball in hand here.

    • March 14th 2013 @ 9:21am
      Roscoe said | March 14th 2013 @ 9:21am | ! Report

      So the Boks are brilliant up front. How come they can’t beat the WBs as regularly as the ABs?

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