There’s something Jaque Fourie-esque about Stormers centre EW Viljoen.
Not only do they play in the same position, have kind of the same physique (Viljoen at 1.92m in height and weighing 92kg, Fourie 1.9m and 105kg), but neither of them backs down from a challenge.
While Viljoen isn’t quite as verwaend as the self-proclaimed best centre in the world, he is confident that he can challenge the big guns for the right to don the Stormers No.13 jersey when the playoffs start next week.
But first up is an outing against the Bulls at Loftus on Saturday, where Viljoen is likely to face Springbok centres Jan Serfontein and Jesse Kriel.
Of the Loftus duel, Viljoen says: “It’s something I’m looking forward to, [but] I am going to approach it just like I did all the other games throughout the competition.
“I’m definitely looking forward to playing against Jesse and Jan, I have lots of respect for them. They are some of the best centres in the world.”
Viljoen, 22, made his Stormers debut against the Bulls at Newlands earlier this year and hasn’t looked back since.
With a number of midfielders suffering long-term injuries in the Stormers camp, Viljoen has been one of the few consistent centres.
He adds: “I played my first game against the Bulls and it’s quite nice to begin and end [the round-robin phase against them]. I’m very lucky being injury-free.”
Springbok Damian de Allende partnered Viljoen in the midfield when they beat the Sunwolves 52-15 last weekend.
And with Juan de Jongh also making his comeback this week, it will be interesting to see if coach Robbie Fleck selects Viljoen in the centre of the park for this weekend’s clash.
Scotland’s Huw Jones will also be ready for action when the playoffs kick off next weekend.
But Viljoen is not planning on giving away his No.13 jersey soon.
He says: “I definitely want to be first choice… and to stay first choice there is always stuff [in my game] that I’ve got to work on.”