EXCLUSIVE: ‘We’d like to win boring but it never works out… sometimes my heart can’t take it!’: Harlequins powerhouse Andre Esterhuizen is targeting back-to-back Premiership titles even if it means another nerve-racking comeback
- Andre Esterhuizen is just two games away from back-to-back Premiership titles
- His power and pace mark him out as one of the league’s most feared players
- Harlequins face Saracens in the Premiership play-off semi-final on Saturday
By his own admission, Andre Esterhuizen sometimes questions his existence as a rugby player.
At the start of each week the pains of the previous weekend’s exertion are still there for the giant South African who is now just two games away from back-to-back Premiership titles.
Harlequins centre Esterhuizen’s power and pace mark him out as one of the league’s most feared players. He will be a marked man by Saracens in Saturday’s play-off.
Andre Esterhuizen is now just two games away from back-to-back Premiership titles
‘On a few Mondays after a weekend game I feel like I can’t do this anymore! I reckon you get over that pretty quickly,’ Esterhuizen told Sportsmail.
‘This is the most I’ve played in one season in quite a while. It doesn’t matter how tough it gets because being a professional rugby player is still one of the best jobs in the world.
‘I’d rather struggle to walk on a Monday than sit in an office from seven in the morning till five.
‘There is a whole different world out there and I don’t think rugby players always appreciate what we’ve got and how easy it is for us. I promise you it’s a lot better than sitting in an office.’
Esterhuizen’s power and pace mark him out as one of the league’s most feared players
Esterhuizen’s presence brings out the best in Harlequins playmakers Danny Care and Marcus Smith and helped the London club win last season’s title.
This year Tabai Matson’s great entertainers are once again in the last four after another campaign mixed with end-to-end tries and thrilling comebacks.
‘I knew from last year my move to Quins was the perfect decision because obviously we won the Premiership,’ Esterhuizen, 28, said.
‘Had we not won it I might have thought different, but at the moment everything is going well and I’m playing in a good team with people I care a lot about.
‘Some of our games are a bit dramatic. Sometimes my heart can’t actually take it!
‘We say to each other every weekend ‘Let’s not make it a late one again and let’s win it from the beginning and have a good start’. It never happens like that!
Harlequins are the comeback kings after several dramatic wins in the past two seasons
‘Even if we’re down 24 points I know we can come back and win any game.’
Esterhuizen has warned Saracens Harlequins can get even better.
‘That’s the best part of it – I think we’re still at 70 per cent of our potential,’ he said.
‘I think we can get a lot better – especially in big games. Let’s hope to get a 90 or 100 per cent performance. It’s obviously very tough to go back-to-back.
‘To do that you have to evolve and get better. Obviously we would love that to happen.
‘We’re in with a shot and let’s hope we can peak at the right time and do it again.
‘I’ve signed with Harlequins until 2025 so the club has a very bright future. I can’t wait for the next few years.’
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