Theron enjoying extended run
September 13, 2001

Gus Theron has illuminated the Currie Cup scene this season with some excellent performances and the Western Province centre's name is on the lips of rugby fans all over.

The speedy Theron already has four tries to his name, but it is his enormous pace off the mark and the ability to slip through the smallest of gaps that really excites spectators.

He made his Western Province debut back in 1998 in the Vodacom Cup, but the surfeit of quality wings and centres in Cape Town limited his number of appearances in the famous jersey.

At the start of this season WP coach Gert Smal released him to the Sharks, where he started in three Super 12 games and made four appearances from the substitutes' bench. Now Theron is back in Cape Town and he is cooking!

The 26-year-old said he is glad to be back in familiar surroundings and he is enjoying his rugby tremendously. "It's always nice to be back in Cape Town. I am settled here and it's good to be with your friends and family again. It's here where I've started my rugby career and it's always been home to me."

However, he is quick enough to add the stint in Durban helped him grow as a player. "I think it makes a difference if you get game time and people take notice if you play games," he said with reference to his current good form.

"I am thankful to Gert for allowing me to go to Durban for the Super 12. It takes you out of your so-called comfort zone and it gave me exposure at a higher level than the Vodacom Cup. It also helps with the confidence and it all adds to making you a more complete player," the Stellenbosch star added.

The utility back said it was to his benefit being able to slot in at different positions in the backline, but that the midfield is still his favourite slot. "I prefer centre, but it counts in your favour to be able to play both positions.

"It gives Gert more leeway in terms of injuries as I can always move to wing, but at the moment I definitely prefer centre. I enjoy my rugby at the moment."

Theron, Robbie Fleck, Barry, Stuart Abbott, Braam van Straaten and Werner Greeff are all vying for the two midfield positions at Western Province. Theron realises that the competition doesn't come any tougher. However, he is not fazed by the challenge of retaining his jersey week after week.

"The competition is really strong, not only at centre, but also amongst the loose-forwards. In fact, we have tremendous depth in almost every position. It brings out the best in you and it keeps you on your toes. You must give your best in every game and approach every game as if it is your last.

"Anything is still possible with De Wet coming back from injury and Werner also there. I think both of them prefer inside centre while I prefer outside centre, but both of them are also very good outside centres too. That's why I say one must regard every match as your last one as Gert could easily decide to try out another combination."

His speed has been a feature of his game since he came onto the provincial scene in 1998. "I participated in athletics at school, but I always had natural speed. But thus far I had the opportunity to show it and maybe that's why people talk about it more!" he laughed when asked about it.

On Saturday Western Province supporters will be hoping for oodles of space for Theron to show the Blue Bull defenders a clean pair of heels every time he touches the ball.

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