It was during a Rugby World Cup 2011 pool match. It was Namibia Vs Fiji, and the Africans were putting up a brave fight before the dazzling class of Vereniki Goneva grasped Fiji the win. But what really caught the eye was the nobody that was Theuns Kotze. Playing behind a Namibian pack that was on the back-foot, Kotze nailed every opportunity he had. Whether that was creating chances through his solid distribution, or bagging one of his three drop-goals (making him just the fourth player in Rugby World Cup history to get a hatrick of drop-goals, the first who wasn’t from a top tier nation), Kotze was exceptional. Watching the game with my father, he confidently claimed, ‘that man is going to get signed by a big club’. Following the rest of his world cup form, the claim from my father not only seemed likely, but inevitable.
What made his stability and trickery all the more impressive was the team he was representing. Most fly-halves at a decent level can look impressive behind a strong team, but Kotze was doing so without a comfortable platform. No disrespect to Namibia, but they were seeded bottom of the pool, and were largely an amateur team trying to resist the bombarding South Africans, Samoans, Welsh, and Fijians. For Kotze to shine as well as he did playing against teams that would destroy his foundation is outstanding, and one can only imagine what he would do behind a dominant pack.
But alas, since then, no club has given him a chance at any serious level. It isn’t clear what club he currently plays for, but sources seem to suggest that it is either an average French 2nd division club, or a South African side somewhere far below the top level. This seems flabbergasting. Since the world cup, Kotze continues to shine for Namibia (true, this is against lower opposition, but he proved at the world cup that he can flourish against big teams).
When looking at his highlights on YouTube, it seems clear that Kotze has the complete package. With ball in hand, he pierces through defences with his runs, and is often successful in putting players through opposition defensive lines. He also does the basics very well, with solid distribution and a varied kicking game. His only, but crucial flaw, seems to be inconsistency with the kicking tee. At just 26, he could be a major asset to any club at the top level, which is what the stand-off deserves.
Want to see Theuns Kotze in action yourself? Watch the video showing the ranging highlights of the Namibian hero.