No old pals act for Rassie fan Ebersohn

One of the key Castres players hoping to plot a shock win over Munster on Sunday in the opening round of the Champions Cup grew up in South Africa with Rassie Erasmus as one of his childhood heroes.

Robert Ebersohn, who has been captaining Castres this season, is from Bloemfontein and grew up supporting the Cheetahs when Erasmus was playing as a flanker for them and the Springboks.

And while Ebersohn has continued to follow Erasmus’ coaching career, he will be hoping on Sunday to play a leading role in plotting a defeat for his former idol.

“He was one of my heroes as a schoolboy. I admired him as a player and have always admired him as a Springbok.

“He won the Currie Cup for the Cheetahs when he was head coach for the first time in 50-odd years. I was a kid watching the game and I have always admired him.

“But it is a big honour for me to play against a team that he is coaching,” said the 28-year old who is in his second season with Castres.

He and his twin brother Sias went on to play for the Cheetahs, following in the footsteps of their father Tiaan.

Robert Ebersohn captained the South Africa U-20 side at the 2009 Junior World Cup and also played international sevens but after over 100 appearances for the Cheetahs he moved to Montpellier in 2013.

He won a European Challenge Cup crown under former South African coach Jake White before making the short journey to Castres just over a year ago.

The centre has been handed a leadership role and has been skippering the side in the absence of Uruguayan veteran Rodrigo Capo Ortega this season but he knows they face a tough task on Sunday if they are to start their Champions Cup campaign with a win over Munster.

“The Champions Cup for us, we don’t take it lightly. We are in it to compete, to be good, to win it. It’s not just a competition we want to scratch off. We set our objectives at the beginning of the season and said we wanted to go 100% at the Champions Cup. We are definitely not taking it lightly.

“Munster is a very good team. They are a quality team and Munster are always good in the Champions Cup. Our first game is at home so we are definitely looking forward to it. It’s a big fixture for us in our yearly programme.

“I expect there will be a full house. The people of Castres are very passionate about their rugby and I definitely look forward to hosting a Champions Cup game against one of the best teams in the world,” added Ebersohn.

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