A young South African man has joined Coleraine Rugby Club and he has already been making a big impact.
Although he has been in Northern Ireland for only two weeks, Bokkie Carstens has made his mark on the local rugby scene and he is enjoying every minute with his new club.
The 20-year-old from Capetown is settling into the side and has been influential in the matches he has played so far. He has been laying at scrum half and has also taken on much of the place kicking duty.
Speaking after another strenuous training session on Thursday evening Bokkie said: “I have enjoyed my first matches with Coleraine and I really liked the physicality and speed of the games.
“The result against Cooke was disappointing but I think we played very well and it was a strong performance.
“Coleraine is a really friendly place and I already feel part of the squad. I love the area and I have to say it has all been great so far.”
Although Bokkie is young he brings a lot of southern hemisphere rugby experience. He comes to Coleraine from the Natal Sharks U19 side where he has been showing a lot of promise.
Coleraine Rugby Club is not the only place to benefit from the South African’s experience and skill.
He is coaching rugby at Coleraine Inst and is looking forward to seeing his charges progress through the various competitions this.
Coleriane coach Richard Beggs helped arrange Bokkie’s move to Coleraine. He said: “We heard about Bokkie when we were in South Africa for the Inst tour this summer.
“We had glowing reports about his playing ability and heard that he wanted to try life and rugby in Ireland. From that we helped organise his trip and now he is rapidly becoming an integral part of our squad.
“He brings a lot of skills to the side and he will gain an insight into our rugby style through playing for the club. Our players will also benefit from some of his South African based ideas.
“We are looking forward to watching Bokkie and this year’s young Coleriane side develop as the season moves along.”
All in all Bokkie is throwing himself fully into life and rugby in Ulster and Coleraine. His enthusiasm is obvious and he will undoubtedly be a great asset to the club and school throughout the season.
If you would like to get involved in Coleraine Rugby Club, as a player, coach or simply to enjoy some excellent sport as a spectator, get in touch with the clubhouse for more details. Everyone is welcome.