Danie Poolman joined Irish club, Connacht back in 2012 and hasn’t looked back since. With a potential opportunity to play for Ireland looming, this talented and charming Wing/Centre chats to us from his new home.
Please tell us about the the road to your 50 caps?
The road to my 50th cap was longer than I anticipated. I arrived at Connacht with a hamstring injury I picked playing my last game for the Stormers, so it wasn’t the ideal start. I missed out on the whole of pre-season and the first 8 Pro 12 league matches. After a visit to a famous German doctor I got back on the field and played 19 games that season. My 2nd season started off well, being involved in all of the first 7 matches before chipping cartilage in my left knee, which kept me out. My 3rd season started off even better, with me being involved in all but 3 games this season and no injury setbacks to speak of. Having signed with Connacht for another 2 seasons, I hope to get to the 100 mark.
What’s it like playing at home in Ireland?
Our home ground is called “The Sportsground” and is surrounded by a Greyhound race track. It’s not the biggest stadium and has a maximum capacity of about +- 7500, but our crowd is one of the most vocal you will come across. They are always there to support us no matter what! It can be a very intimidating place to play in when you’re the visiting team
How does the Heineken Cup game compare to the Super 15 competition?
There are only 6 European, Champions cup or Challenge Cup, (Previously Heineken cup and the Amlin Challenge cup) pool games a season. The build up and intensity makes it very special because you play against teams you’ve never played before or rarely play against (the French and the English teams). It’s very much on the same level when compared to the S15.
What would you say is the secret behind Ireland’s current excellent form?
They have got a very good group of players at the moment and the form flyhallf in world rugby in my opinion, Johnny Sexton. But the thing that gives them their edge at the moment is the head coach, Joe Schmidt. He has a rugby mind like no other in the sense of analysing teams, picking the correct game plan and getting the best out of his players.
How do you think the Southern hemisphere teams will do versus the Northern hemisphere teams at this World cup?
It’s going to be a very tight contest. I think Ireland, England and Wales will be right up there. The weather and conditions will be something the teams over here are used to. If I was a betting man I would say Ireland are gonna upset some of the Southern hemisphere giants.
What have been some of the dominating factors in you reaching the magical 50?
We have great staff and in all departments they are always willing to help you improve and support you through injury to get you back better than before.
What’s next for Danie?
At the moment I am just focused on doing my best to help Connacht win our remaining games and improving where I can.
All the best Danie.