Ebersohn twins set to clash
March 22, 2013
Cheetahs' inside centre Robert Ebersohn will face "older" brother Sias for the first time © Getty Images
They've battled it out in the backyard, and now Sias and Robert Ebersohn will lock horns on the Super Rugby stage when the Western Force host the Cheetahs on Saturday night.
Sias spent three seasons with his twin brother Robert at the Cheetahs, before making the tough decision to switch to the Force to gain more playing opportunities.
The talented five-eighth has made a bright start to his career in Perth, performing strongly in recent matches against the Bulls and Reds to cement his place as the side's preferred No.10.
Robert, who plays at inside centre for the Cheetahs, says he misses his brother, but understands his reasons for leaving.
The pair, who lived together for 22 years, are bracing themselves for their first professional match against each other.
But they've already had plenty of unofficial contests while growing up together on a small farm just outside of Bloemfontein.
"We started at the age of six or seven," Robert said on Friday.
"We used to have the toughest battles in the backyard. It was just the two of us kicking, playing mostly grubbers and chippies - just messing around. That's where it all started."
And as for who won those backyard battles? "It's a Test match that's still continuing."
Sias boasts he is the older of the pair, having arrived about 30 seconds before Robert. And when it comes to skills, Sias also comes out on top.
But Robert is said to have the better tactical nous, and his lack of flair compared to Sias meant he has developed a superior work ethic.
"I think Sias is definitely the more natural talent," Robert said. "It comes easy for him. For me, I've got to work harder."
Both sides enter the match full of confidence. The Cheetahs are on a two-game winning streak after posting road victories over the New South Wales Waratahs and Highlanders, while the Force notched one of the upsets of the season with last week's 19-12 triumph over the Reds in Brisbane.
The visitors will be without five-eighth Johan Goosen, who suffered a season-ending knee injury at training earlier this week.
Ironically, it was the Cheetahs' preference for Goosen at No.10 that convinced 24-year-old Sias to look for opportunities elsewhere.
"Sometimes in life, you're going to come to a crossroads. I'm happy with the decision," Sias said.