All Things Jabu is a big fan of rugby! We were fortunate enough to be at the Currie Cup Final this year where we got to see the brilliant Ross Skeate in action. He has been a bit of a journey man in playing for the Stormers, before heading over to France to play for Toulon for two years. In 2010 South Africans were rewarded when Ross decided to settle back in South Africa and take up a playing role at the Sharks. All Things Jabu had the pleasure of chatting with the big lock on the eve of the Currie Cup Final.
All Things Jabu (ATJ):Â Hi Ross, thank you very much for the interview!
Ross Skeate (RS):Â My pleasure, itâ€™s good to chat.
ATJ: Firstly letâ€™s get it out of the way, what went wrong for South Africa at the World Cup, besides Bryce Lawerence?
RS: Ha Ha, Bryce has really been copping a lot of abuse hasnâ€™t he? What went wrong? Well I for one was really rpoud of the rugby the guys played in the competition and the passion and desire they brought to the jersey, I guess on the day our inability to finish was the real rpoblem. With so much possesion and territory itâ€™s no wonder the guys were so upset at the loss.
ATJ: With Victor Matfield, Danie Russouw and Bakkies Botha (Essentially) moving on from South African rugby do you still harbour ambitions of playing in the green and gold?
RS: I will always harbour ambitions for the Bok jersey. I am South African through and through and growing up as a rugby player in this country it has always been a dream of mine to be a Bok. I hope I can still finsd the opportunity to.
ATJ: Who do you think the front runners for the lock position are now?
RS: One thing about our rugby in this country is that weâ€™ll never be short of depth or talent coming through. There have been some great perfromances this year by a number of guys, and Iâ€™m just hoping the selectorâ€™s think of me when they do a head count.
ATJ: All Things Jabu is well known for not supporting the current format of the Super Rugby. How do you think it could be changed?
RS: Well, there would be a number of things that coud be done to tweak the tournament. I used to love travelling for 5 weeks to Australasia in the old Super 14 days, but I do recognize an extended tour like that always counts in the Aus and NZ teamsâ€™ favour. I also am not a fan of the double domestic format. I prefer playing each team once and then taking it from there. As it stands this year we played the Bulls, WP and our domestic teams almost 5 to 6 times. Twice in Super Rugby, twice in Currie Cup and a few other times in playoffsâ€¦
ATJ: Your injury must have frustrated you, it was great to see you back up in action. How are you feeling in terms of fitness?
RS: The Broken nose? Well Iâ€™m glad itâ€™s over letâ€™s put it that way. It wasnâ€™t one of the more painful injuries Iâ€™ve had (and Iâ€™ve had a lot) but came at a time when I was trying to gather steam heading into the conclusion of the competition. Injuries are always terrible things. But as far as where I am now, Iâ€™m feeling good and excited heading towards the Final.
ATJ: Having played for Toulon, what is the major difference between the South African rugby scene and the French one?
RS: I would say the major difference would be the professionalism in this country. Although certain French clubs are right up there, across the board in this country our nutrition, training, coaching, all our structures really are ahead.
ATJ: And what about the difference between Cape life and the Durban lifestyle?
RS: I think people in Durban are actually even more relaxed than CT. Thereâ€™s definitely more of an outdoor family environment here. While CT is a lot more cosmolpolitan and basically a first world city, and so the environment is one more about travel, nightlife, restaurantsâ€¦in Durbs people just want to go for a good surf and relax with some good friends.
ATJ: How much impact did your schooling have on your rugby career?
RS: Quite a bit as it influenced who I am and you I want to be. And that has always been closely tied into what I am doing.
ATJ: Who would be your pick for the next Springbok coach?
RS: Tough oneâ€¦we have some good coaches in this country, and Iâ€™ve worked with a lot of them.Â Names like Alan Solomans and Nick Mallet come to mind (I had agreat experiences under the as a player) as well as Alistair Coetzee and Rassie Erasmus. Either way we can be assured the Bok job shall have more than enough worthy candidates.
ATJ: What is the highlight of your career so far?
RS: Iâ€™veÂ got a few moments that come to mind like scoring a try from the kickoff in Craven Week, playing in France, touring with the BaaBaaâ€™s, as well as really enjoying my rugby with the Sharks and being part if the group who won the Currie Cup last year. Oh and definitely all the amazing years I spent in CT at WP with some really great mates and great players. And of course the tours, I love the travelling.
ATJ: You are a proud ambassador for CANSA, apart from the yearly shavathon, what can supporters do to make a difference?
RS: Well thereâ€™s actually quite a lot you can doâ€¦anything from donations to joining any events and functions. Donation wise you can always go to CANSA thmselves or my own App www.rossskeate.liveapp.mobi that has a donation page that goes straight to the people at CANSA. But more than all of that just educate youself and your loved ones first. Quality of life is paramount.
ATJ: Onto other sport, do you follow any other sport?
RS: Yeah, I used to be heavily into my basketball getting national coulours and even contemplating a career abroad at one stage. Also Iâ€™m a bit of a tennis fan, but never really watch too much. Actually I enjoy a lot of other sports but nothing too seriously.
ATJ: And who do your support?
RS: Lost a bit of touch with the basketball but Iâ€™m a Roger Federer fan all the way.
ATJ: If you werenâ€™t a professional rugby player, what would you be doing?
RS: Probably shooting a basketball in some European country right now.
ATJ: Where can readers learn more about you or keep up to date on your comings and goings?
RS: Best would probably be to download my App www.rossskeate.liveapp.mobi as it links to my twitter (which Iâ€™m on pretty often) my Facebook fan page, my blog and finally my website rossskeate.com
ATJ: Thanks for your time Ross, good luck for the Super Rugby season
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