Hendré Stassen: Come back King
Loftus Versfeld has always been a place where quality lock forwards excel as rugby players with the likes of Frik du Preez, Victor Matfield and RG Snyman all donning the blue jersey with aplomb.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls have also perfected the science of developing the next generation of locks with Hendré Stassen immediately springing to mind.
The 20-year-old Junior Springbok joined the Vodacom Blue Bulls straight after finishing his schooling at Hoërskool Dr. EG Jansen where he represented the Valke in the U16 Grant Khomo and U18 Craven Week which paved the way for his SA Schools selection.
Stassen, who is equally at home at blindside flank, is one of a few players to have played for the Vodacom U19 Blue Bulls while still at school. He made a name for himself in the FNB Varsity Cup where he helped FNB UP-Tuks to lift the trophy last season while he also claimed a winner’s medal with the FNB UP-Tuks Young Guns in 2016.
It is pretty safe to say that 2017 was set to be his best season yet as he put in several stellar performances for FNB UP-Tuks and the Junior Springboks before his time on the field was cut short by a serious knee injury while at the World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia.
Stassen’s rehabilitation was a long and arduous journey but the young lock put in the work that was needed to make a full recovery and picked up where he left off with Stassen continuing his meteoric rise up the ranks as he made his senior team debut in Vodacom Super Rugby, Super Sport Rugby Challenge and the Currie Cup.