The Bulls (and SA rugby) need uncomplicated men like Wiehahn Herbst

Wiehahn Herbst, pictured here with Ulster, gave up a potential opportunity of Test rugby with Ireland to return home. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

The Klerksdorp-born prop gave up a potential opportunity to play Tests for Ireland to return home. The clarity of his goals can only help in Super Rugby this season.

Wiehahn Herbst is one very uncomplicated powerhouse of a prop.

When he dutifully walks towards a group of journalists for his media duty, he softly says something interesting.

“I’ll be quick with this.”

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Those aren’t words a sports journalist wants to hear.

But the Bulls tighthead then clarifies: he doesn’t want to get on with things just to get this “chore” out of the way as quickly as possible.

“You guys are also busy. I don’t want to keep you occupied too long.”

It’s a nice gesture, even though Herbst could easily decide to sit and chat for half-an-hour – after all, the hacks are indebted to him for his time, not the other way around.

Born in Klerksdorp, the 31-year-old, who moved to Loftus in April 2019, forged an accomplished career with Irish giants Ulster after leaving the Sharks six years ago.

In fact, Herbst stayed there long enough to gain residency.

That makes his decision to return to South Africa – when he arguably had a better chance to play international rugby with Ireland – rather eye-catching.

Does he actually still want to don the Green-and-Gold?

“I’m just here to play for the Bulls. Whatever happens, happens. I’m just here to play good rugby and enjoy it,” Herbst said rather pithily.

That’s the man for you – a guy of few words who really just wants to do his best.

No more, no less.

Even his insights into his Irish adventure is to-the-point.

“It was a really good experience for us, my family and I. It’s nice enjoying a different part of the world and being exposed to a different style of rugby. Ironically enough, I adapted easier there, but it’s great being home,” said Herbst.

“The game in Ireland is different than here. So it’s really just about applying those insights here and help wherever I can.”

However, one thing that certainly gets the prop going is the Springboks’ momentous World Cup victory last year, specifically how it has inspired a newfound confidence in South African rugby in general.

“I remember how excited I was to see the Boks lift the trophy in 1995, when I was about seven-years-old. I can tell you that even at 30, nothing changed. Everyone is just so hyped and you now want to perform better than ever,” said Herbst.

That burning desire for excellence extends to his simple goal for the Bulls in this year’s Super Rugby campaign.

“We aim to the top goals. You don’t just participate in a competition, you’re there to win the thing. We’ve had a really good pre-season and we’ve worked hard. We’re going in heads-on.”

It’s the type of simple clarity that can only benefit a Bulls team in transition.

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