Stormers and Western Province flyhalf Kurt Coleman is showing good signs of form after a difficult run with injuries.
Kurt Coleman played a match-winning role during WP’s 22-8 win over Boland in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge over the weekend, which saw the Cape Town-based union extend their undefeated run in the competition to seven games.
While the sides were locked at 8-all at half-time during difficult playing conditions in Strand, Coleman finished the match with a 12-point haul to steer the men in blue and white hoops to victory.
This will be a big boost for the 27-year-old, who has been sidelined for most of the past two seasons. After a serious knee injury ruled him out in 2016, an ankle injury during the current Super Rugby campaign also saw him spend time on the sidelines this year.
However, Coleman is determined to move on from his injury woes.
“Injuries are never nice. It was very difficult spending time away from the game, especially last year,” Coleman told MyPlayers. “Being out of the game for most of the season in 2016 really tested me physically and mentally. I was very lucky to have great support structure around me. My parents, girlfriend, family and friends really played a big role in helping me remain positive. Going through bad times really shows you who is there to help you when times are tough.
“Now I’m focused on building good momentum and form. I feel good after playing three games in a row and putting in a 80-minute performance against Boland. The match against Border saw us play a running game, while we needed a more pragmatic approach against Boland in the rain and windy conditions. This was a good test for me.
“I want to continue this as I prepare to make the step-up back to Super Rugby when the competition resumes after the June international break.”
Coleman added that the SuperSport Rugby Challenge was an exciting competition, especially for the junior players looking to make a name for themselves.
“I really enjoyed my time playing the SuperSport Rugby Challenge. This benefits rugby as the game is taken to new cities and cultures, while players use the platform to prove their worth,” explained Coleman.
“I got to play in a small Eastern Cape town called Mdastane and it was amazing to see how many people showed up to watch us in the stands. It was also my first time playing a home WP game in Strand as we usually play at Newlands and Cit Park.
“This competition also emphasises the quality and talent among WP’s juniors, who are getting an opportunity at senior level. [Head coach] John Dobson and his coaching team are doing well to put all the necessary game plans and structures in place, which is working well for the team.
“We want to continue our winning run in our pool before preparing ourselves for tough fixtures in the knockouts. If we secure homeground advantage, we will be put ourselves in a good position to win the first SuperSport Rugby Challenge trophy.”
Coleman added there’s ambition in the Super Rugby squad too.
“The Stormers are aiming for a top spot among the play-off places. If we make the most of our opportunities, we can go far.”
Meanwhile, Coleman said he’s enjoying life in Cape Town having made the move down after attending Grey High in Port Elizabeth. He said the decision was a good one to push him out of his comfort zone.
“Having been born in Knysna, I’m used to being away from home as I stayed in hostel at Grey High. I had a few opportunities to choose from after school, but I decided that the move to Cape Town would be best for me,” said Coleman. “As a young player, moving away from home to pursue a professional rugby career can be difficult, but you have to challenge yourself and trust the process.
“Take in the lessons provided my coaches and senior players and put in the work. It sounds cliche, but you have to absorb as much as you can if you want to prolong your professional career. This is vital for all youngsters looking to establish themselves in the South African professional rugby system.”
By Gareth Duncan