We were lucky enough to interview the Stormers Flyhalf Kurt Coleman for RunRideDive. Coleman has made his way through the system playing for Eastern Province Craven Week, Maties in the Varsity Cup and then the Vodacom Cup for Western Province. He has cemented his place in the Stromers side and will be looking to strengthen his grip on their Number 10 jersey in this Super Rugby season.
Firstly thank you for taking the time to answer our questions!
You came through the Varsity system playing for Maties, how did this help you in your development as a player?
I was still very young when I played for Maties, and it taught me to cut down on my mistakes as a Flyhalf. I got injured in Grade 11 and thereafter didn’t take my sports very seriously. I played rugby in my final year just to enjoy the sport with my mates. I got picked to play Craven Week for Eastern Province and that’s where Western Province spotted me. I then went to the Western Province institute and worked my way through the ranks of Western Province rugby.
How big a change was it going from Vodacom Cup to Super Rugby?
The biggest difference was probably the physicality of the game itself and the intense nature of what you put your body through. I was at that stage already equipped with the knowledge, I just had to go out there and adapt to the pace, strength and physicality. Which I believe I have successfully done. You have less time to make decisions in Super Rugby as the game is fast-paced so you need to mentally be prepared for any opportunity and change that arises.
What has the biggest difference been with the changes of coaches at the Stormers?
It hasn’t really been a change for me because Robbie Fleck was there when I made my debut, and has remained there throughout my career. I am very comfortable with his coaching and I know that he has my best interest at heart.
Demetri Catrakilis has left for Europe opening up the number 10 jersey for you, how much did you learn playing with him over the last few years?
Training is very important when it comes to kicking. He taught me that practice makes perfect. He invested so much time and effort into perfecting his craft, which is an attitude I have adopted. There is enormous pressure on a kicker, and you cannot predict the circumstances on the day, but I go out there knowing I can face any challenged brought upon me.
What changes do you think having the new franchises in Super Rugby this season will bring for the competition?
I think it’s a good thing in the long run because it brings new flavour into the competition. You get to travel to new destinations and that’s always exciting. It will become more mentally and physically demanding with the long travelling hours and time zone differences. Not many people get to travel the world and meet like-minded rugby players each new week.
How strenuous is playing so much rugby over the course of the season on you?
It’s quite hectic, yes, but that’s where your recovery comes in which is very important. I pay a great amount of attention to my recovery as I have been injured in the past, and I need to make sure my body is well looked after. Luckily we have a very good medical team that looks after us. In 2012 I was out for eight weeks with a broken jaw. In 2015 I struggled with a calf injury, and then I suffered a groin injury and had to have an op. I was given a 50/50 chance of playing again. I fought through it and thankfully came out on top. It’s all about knowing your body, knowing your limits and looking after yourself.
How do you keep fit for Super Rugby?
We have a very good condition coach and. He puts us through our paces. Each day differs, but I train with the Stormers team at the High Performance centre 4 times a week, and we play on weekends. Our training schedules are combinations of cardio, weight-training, watt bikes and on-field game sessions. We usually start early mornings between 07h00 and 07h30 and end around 14h00/15h00 with a lunch break, rehab, and recovery massages in between. We have one off day a week, for recovery purposes. Dedication and focus, would be two traits that are of key importance to me. It is vital I stay motivated and dedicated to the task at hand, which will ultimately help me become the best I can possibly be. Committing myself to accurate and proper training methods is key to my success as a rugby player. If we don’t have training, I will go for a run or hit the gym for some light training.
Who was your biggest inspiration as player growing up?
Daniel Carter, for the way he plays, and because of all of his achievements are so well-deserved. His determination through his injury was admirable as he pushed through and because he is the best 10 in the world again. I also looked up to Bob Skinstad!
Which is your favourite stadium to play in?
Newlands and Ellis Park – it’s all the combined factors of the vibe, atmosphere, stadium, people, EVERYTHING!
Who has been the toughest opponent you’ve faced?
It’s tough to pick one, but the Lions in last year’s Super Rugby at Newlands was a particularly tough game. If I had to pick one player I believe is a formidable opponent, I would pick Waisake Noholo, the wing from Highlanders.
Who has been the most talented player you’ve played with?
I would definitely have to say Gio Aplon, Cheslin Kolbe and Damian de Allende! They all bring something unique to the game. They are incredibly focused and know what works for them and what doesn’t, it’s admirable.
What are your aims for the current season?
I learnt in 2015 not to get too impatient and always be ready for the next opportunity. You never know what can happen. I want to keep that lesson in mind this year. My goal for the 2016 Super Rugby Season is to be the starting flyhalf for the Stormers and have an overall good Super Rugby campaign, as well as score my first try for the Stormers. I want to be the best I can be. Become bigger, better and stronger in any way that I possibly can. I am ready for hard work and dedication and can’t wait to seize opportunities when they come. I keep telling myself to trust that everything that happens – good or bad – is part of the journey. My ultimate goal is to be a Springbok, and I remind myself of that every time I take to the field, for a game or practise.
What has been your career highlight thus far?
Vodacom Cup Game – scored a hat-trick! And winning at Loftus for the first time in five years! Such a proud moment! But overall, I just want to have a good season and start for the Stormers, that will be my proudest moment.
Which other sports are you a fan of and who do you support?
I am a huge soccer fan! Man United all the way!
photo credits: Supplied and Denzil Jacobs