Front Row Grunt

Rugby … with cauliflower ears

Introducing … A 404kg front row!

So a few mates and I took a little trip down to City Park in Athlone on Saturday – to take in WP hammering the Lions in their Vodacom Cup quarter final … As much to get away from the avalanche of what has become a fairly tedious Super Rugby tournament, as to have a few beers on the grass bank while watching some of the country’s young talent …

And who should we bump into, but none other than my old training partner, Guy Kebble, who was at the game with his not so little lightie, Oliver Kebble, who had made his debut for the WP side from the bench a few weeks back …

Guy needs no introduction as the massively strong Springbok loosehead prop who played for both Western Province and the Sharks. Perhaps not the most mobile of props ever to don the Green and Gold, the other thing we have in common is that we were both fired by SuperSport as commentators. Guy, though, was asked to come back, while my invite seems to have been lost in the post :)

Kebble junior, although just starting his rugby career, seems to have fallen quite close to the old tree …

Born in Durban while dad was playing Currie Cup rugby for the Sharks at the time, he went to school at Bishops in Cape Town, where he stayed until Grade 11 before moving to England to do his A-Levels.

Kebble attended Dulwich College in London and was invited to be part of the London Irish Academy. In June last year he went to France to play French Second Division rugby, no doubt learning a great many scrumming tricks and techniques – this in order to just survive one of those scrums!

“It was like going to scrum school in France. They place a lot of emphasis on scrums and I picked up a lot of valuable experience. I think my scrumming has improved immensely which should help me quite a bit here,’’ he said to me at City Park.

It’s far too early to tell, and I really hope he is not rushed into anything too fast, but having been spotted by Dawie Theron and picked for SA U20 Squad to play in the IRB Junior world championships next month, and also asked by Heyneke Meyer to pop into the Bok training camp in Cape Town, it is clear that a few pretty influential people have spotted a talent …

Of course I could not resist taking a pic of what would make a 404kg front row … One that would probably be immovable, yet struggle to make the next ruck, but be legendary humour at the post match function – if they still had those damn things!

Kebbles and Lanning

Kebble (O), Lanning, Kebble (G)

Kebble junior in a nutshell:

Full Name:  Oliver Kebble
Date of birth: 18 June 1992
Weight:  128kg
Height:  1.89m
Position: Loosehead Prop (but can play tighthead as well)
School: Dulwich College 2010 – 2011, Bishops 2009
Club: Villagers

Post school career:
SA U20 Squad (IRB Junior world championships) 2012
Stade Montois 2011 – 2012
London Irish 2010 – 2011

Author: Tank

Ex WP prop with a fair amount of experience in all things media ...

5 Comments

  1. Hi Tank, you look “small” between the two other props.
    Way back, after Guy had just completed his national service as a diver in the Navy, he went to Stellenbosch. Those days he was much more mobile (and fit). I had the privilige to play a match with Guy at loosehead and Balie Swart at tighthead (What a pleasure being a hooker). I won’t mention the club we played against, but we won 15 scrum feeds of the opposition. They did not get possession from one scrum. We were literally “running” with every scrum feed. It was “fun” initially but not a contest, which we brothers of the front row like so much !

    • Used to love it a little when that happened! Had a pretty big front row at school and we caused a fair amount of damage. I remember once taking on Pagel, Patterson and Andrews in a club game – them for Hammies and me for Ikeys. I wish club rugby would go back to that sort of strength …

  2. Now,Oliver K is not small and the engine room against him must be a huge crunch.As a flank I was 1910 and weighed in at about 90 kg at 20 at wits!guys are not small these days and its lots of bod that has to be made Rugby fit.I cannot but congratulate and compliment you on your wonderful preds and columns.(by the by I got 6/6 & 7/7 in the last two rounds of superbru which makes me extremely chuffed considering the high quality of rugby being played generally by all the teams even the underdogs if any should be considered to be so. Best regards Arthur Shaw Architect.

    • Yep, the boys sure are pretty giant these days … The players tell me the collisions are something fierce! Very nice predicting – Wish i could say the same, but I definitely can’t!!

  3. Classic comment from Francois Gericke on the FRG Facebook page:

    I played tighthead for Correctional services in the 90-s and weighed 145kg. I was still prone to a spot of pub crawling with my mate Allie Alberts. He played prop for Georges first team and weighed 141kgs. Our normal haunt had a regular called Johan Kock,or Ox.He was only 5 foot 6 inches but weighed in at 170kgs. Ox performed manual labour so he was all muscle.Usually at about 01:00 we would suddenly get the urge to scrum. This would normally start with Allie slapping a R100 note on the barcounter and challenging any 4 guys to have a go. Man did we make some money(usually from out of towners and new-comers).

    So thats the true story about the beer powered 450 + kgs after midnight front row that never lost a scrum!