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Sharksworld chats with rising Force star Mark Swanepoel


Written by Gwyn Pratley (Hertford Highlander)

Posted in :Bulls, Original Content, Springboks on 3 Jun 2011 at 15:13
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , ,

On a night when Super rugby bid farewell to Carisbrook and the home fans turned the same colour as their team’s new jerseys. Sharksworld caught up with a young South Africa that has made the last two rounds his own – Force scrum half Mark Swanepoel.

Sharkworld: First of all Mark congratulations on the win tonight, it must have felt quite good?

Mark Swanepoel: Thanks very much, yeah we came in at halftime and we set a few goals. The boys said we would really work for each other and we really came out in the second half and did that.

SW: There must have been some stern words at halftime because you really turned it around in the second half.

MS: Yeah there were. No one was holding back. Sharpie is a good leader, we have a good leadership group, and we knew what we had to do. We knew what was expected and everyone stepped up in the second half and we did it.

SW: Speaking of stepping up you have really stepped into the void in the last two weeks and have exploded onto the scene with performances that have really caught the eye, you must be feeling pretty good about taking your chance.

MS: Yeah I am, I’ve been waiting for this opportunity and there was no way I was going to let it go by and be left wondering afterwards.

SW: Your combination with James Stannard really caught the eye last week against the Hurricanes and we were looking forward to seeing you both again tonight and you didn’t disappoint. It looks like you guys have been together for a long time – I imagine you have been behind the scenes.

MS: We train as a 30 and we are always in and out, mixing up the combinations and positions. James and I are good friends and we hang out off the field a bit together as well, so that always helps on the field when you get on with someone off the field.

SW: Have you played a little bit at flyhalf in Sydney for Manly?

MS: Yeah last season I came in halfway through the year because we had a bit of an injury to our 10 Ben Seymour and I stepped in and played 11 games there. We got through to the semi-finals, which was good and it gave me a better perspective on the game. So I know exactly what Chucky (Stannard) is going through at the moment and he is doing really well there.

SW: Now a little bit more about your background, what are your origins and how did you end up at the Force?

MS: My whole family is from South Africa, I was born in Johannesburg. We left South Africa when I was 6 years old. We left before I started playing rugby and our first stop was New Zealand. We were in New Zealand for 5 years, then moved to Australia. So I was 11 when I arrived on the Gold Coast in Australia. I went to TSS The Southport School, I played 1st XV for a year, I made Queensland schoolboys, and Australian Schoolboys. I then had a knee injury that put me out of Queensland schoolboys in 2008, but I made the Australian schoolboys again. From there I made the Reds Academy. I did the pre-season at the Reds Academy, then a couple of games into the Super season the Western Force had a few injuries so I came over on a short term contract. I did not get on to the field that season which was 2009. Shortly after I arrived in Western Australian they offered me a rookie contract for 2010. I debuted against the Bulls. I got two and half minutes off the bench which obviously was pretty short lived. I had no more game time in 2010. Then this year I was on the bench again against the Bulls, but I didn’t get on. Then I finally got my opportunity against the Hurricanes last week I played the full 80 minutes. Then I got the same opportunity against the Highlanders this week and have again played the full 80 minutes.

SW: It must have been interesting coming up against Jimmy Cowan tonight, was it interesting gauging yourself against him?

MS: Yeah, yeah definitely. The halfbacks that I have faced so far have been, Fourie du Preez, Piri Weepu and now Jimmy and mate it is a dream come true to play against guys of that calibre.

SW: Influences so far in your career?

MS: All of the above. Plus guys when I was a kid that I liked to watch like Byron Kelleher and Justin Marshall. My Dad was a big fan of Joost van der Westhuizen and he would like to think I could play like him one day.

SW: Is there any part of your game next year you are looking to specifically work on?

MS: Mate, everything. I am at a stage now that I want to work on everything and become the best player I can be.

SW: What does the future hold next year, have you signed on already with the Force?

MS: I haven’t signed on yet, I’m still looking.

SW: You look to have a long career ahead of you, do you have international aspirations?

MS: Yeah, definitely, I would love to play internationally.

SW: Have you decided for whom yet?

MS: Ha ha ha, no not yet, I’m just looking for opportunities and pushing forward with my rugby career.

SW: Thanks for talking with Sharksworld Mark, all the best.

MS: Cheers mate, no problem.



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