Posted on Friday, 26 Feb 2021
The 29-year-old Toyota Cheetahs lock, Rynier Bernardo, is relishing the opportunity to make his second “debut” for the team on Saturday when they run out to tackle the Stormers in Cape Town.
Following the recent mass exodus of players at the Toyota Cheetahs, Bernardo was contracted by Hawies Fourie, after having been in the rugby wilderness and having to start working in order to make ends meet.
Bernardo played for the Cheetahs in 2017 and 2018, and in this time represented the team in the Currie Cup and in the PRO14. Since then he made a turn at the Canon Eagles in the Japanese Top League, before finding himself without a contract.
While the Toyota Cheetahs reserves among the locks are rather sparse at this point in time, Bernardo did enough over the past three weeks during the preseason to earn a starting role against the Stormers at the Cape Town Stadium.
Bernardo told OFM Sport that not too long ago he was just hoping for a chance to be able to play rugby again.
“Three and half months ago I was contemplating what I’m going to do with my life and hoping that rugby who come along again.
“It obviously has, and I’m very much excited to be in the rugby fold again. I just want to contribute in a positive way this weekend and I am very excited to be playing at the new stadium.
“I think that with the run of games that will be coming up it is something to look forward to. It’s nice to be back in rugby and being able to put on the Cheetahs jersey again is another bonus.
“I enjoyed the last season I was here and I am sure that I will enjoy this one too. I know that everyone is looking forward to the game as much as I am.
“I just don’t know how I am going to sit with the no crowd scenario, because I haven’t done that before. So, that should be an interesting feeling, but I am very excited nonetheless.”
Saturday afternoon’s match between the Stormers and Toyota Cheetahs at the Cape Town Stadium kicks off at 17:15.
Stormers - 15 Tristan Leyds, 14 Edwill van der Merwe, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Cornel Smit, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Kade Wolhuter, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ben-Jason Dixon, 6 Marcel Theunissen, 5 Chris van Zyl (captain), 4 David Meihuizen, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Replacements - 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Johan du Toit, 20 Ernst van Rhyn, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Abner van Reenen, 23 Mnombo Zwelendaba.
Toyota Cheetahs - 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Duncan Saal, 13 Chris Smit, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Reinhardt Fortuin, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Jeandré Rudolph, 7 George Cronjé, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Rynier Bernardo, 4 Carl Wegner (captain), 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Wilmar Arnoldi , 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements - 16 Marnus van der Merwe, 17 Beertjie van Vuuren, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Victor Sekekete, 20 Aidon Davis, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Dries Swanepoel, 23 Rhyno Smith.
@MorganPiek OFM Sport