A player who decided to move abroad for another crack at a rugby career, from the fields of Brookside to strutting himself in one of the best Super Rugby finals to date in the Westpac stadium . Four weeks ago Benedict Chanakira had a chat with Ross Geldenhuys and he informed us that the Highlanders will be taking each game as it comes. The Hurricanes were on fire and we all thought they would be crowned Super Rugby champions, how the script changed with the Highlanders putting the record straight and managing to win their maiden title. Benedict spoke to Ross once again on a few matters including; Villager Rugby club, being a champion, the Rugby World Cup and a positive from not scoring that try in the final!
RG: You don’t start easy do you? *chuckles* Happy, Awesome, unreal, proud and champion!
BC: What was the mindset in the squad ahead of the finals?
RG: Well, right up to that game against the Chiefs it was on. We were playing finals rugby and we focused on getting another Monday. Our trainer Wendell who gives us speeches from time to time had us working towards another Monday before all the gym sessions. It worked on us all, we beat the Chiefs, flew to Australia and beat the Waratahs and then managed to do beat the Hurricanes. One that Monday after the final- we had a few beers! *chuckles* Pretty special group.
BC: Looking forward to the ITM Cup?
RG: Yes, looking forward to it and can not wait to get back into rugby after the break. I want to spend some time with family and just recover then going back to the Makos!
BC: You almost scored a try in the final. Key word being “almost”…
RG: *laughter* I think that’s the problem. I walked in the game and could have run faster.
BC: Who do you think will win the World Cup? Who will you be supporting?
RG: I will be watching and I reckon it will be a tight contest with the UK sides and the trio of South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. Support wise? I am South African and will have to hope we are there, or there abouts. I have been playing with new Zealanders and they have been influential in my career. I will be rooting for them both.
BC: You are son of Villagers Rugby legend. How influential was your father leading up to the final?
RG: He thinks he is a legend. *laughter* I am blessed. He is a special man. He still thinks he is one of the players and is at the club more than some of the players having a few beers and he has been monumental. He is the reason I started playing rugby and it would have been good to have him in NZ but he watched the game. We spoke and when I nearly scored he said, he jumped so high, hit the roof that he almost had a heart attack. He says if I scored he wouldn’t have woken up. I guess not scoring was good?
BC: What are your early rugby memories of the Cape Town club?
RG: Its got strong ties to our families. I played lots of rugby back in the day and remember many games from going to play against Hamilton’s and Maties and some famous victories for me at the mighty ‘Maties’ home. I remember a time against Maties and everyone thought I scored a try and it actually was someone else. We have been involved in this game as the Geldenhuys’ and we are privileged.
The journey has been worthwhile for Ross and what looked like the end of a road was actually the beginning of a fantastic journey. A handful of South Africans, excluding Blue Bulls players have managed to win the coveted competition. His father, Piet Geldenhuys at 62 years old still trains twice a week at the Villagers gym. A fighting ethos in the family. From stalwarts like John Smit, the du Plessis brothers to mention a few having come short; it shows how monumental the achievement is. Geldenhuys a player who had no contract a year ago managed to get the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. A lesson. Never to give up. Never to stop fighting. A winner’s attitude.