Bob Skinstad (Former Springboks Captain)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob is a former captain of the South Africa national rugby union team. In total he played 42 Tests, captaining his country 12 times. Bob made his debut for the Springboks in 1997 and went on to win the World Cup in 2007. At club level Bob was a three times Currie Cup winner with Western Province.

1. What are you missing most during lockdown?

I travel quite a bit for work and have been travelling as a sportsman too since my late teens. So, I miss the regular time on my own, figuring out a trip and new places and seeing the world from new eyes each time. I also love fishing, especially flyfishing, and I haven’t been able to get out and see the rivers and the mayfly hatch, which I’ve done every year for ages. So I will be raring to go, if we get the signal! I also can’t wait for whatever we get of a cricket season too. The 3rds at Weybridge are raring to go!

2. Which country (or place) did you most enjoy touring?

I’ve always loved New Zealand as a country. It is well known for a small but active outdoor community and they use the beautiful rugged landscape to spend time in the great outdoors. Being born in the old Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, and being a proud African, I love the harsh and wild side of Africa too but that is less travel and more hosting. I like to take people to see what we grew up with and counted as normal.

3. Who is the best player you played against?

I was lucky to play against some great players, a dominant English side pre-2003 were very good, with Johnny Wilkinson and Martin Johnson the best in their respective fields. I also played against a young and dominant Jonah Lomu who was quite a handful in his prime! On the sevens pitch, I played against Waisale Serevi who has been quite rightly labelled the King of Sevens.

4. Who is the best player you played on the same team as?

I've been very lucky and always count my blessings that I played with some great Springbok teammates, including Bryan Habana and Bakkies Botha, who with all their accolades and wins all over the world, are the most decorated players of all time. I have played a lot of Barbarian rugby too, so I played with Brian O’ Driscoll and Christian Cullen – all incredible players, and always kind and gentle souls off the field too.

5. Who is the best player you have played against?

The toughest was an unassuming man called Henry Honiball, a flyhalf and farmer from the Orange Freestate in South Africa and he was the best tackler ever. His nickname was Lem, which is an Afrikaans word for Blade, he used to cut players in half! He was so feared by even the All Blacks that in an away test match we played, the whole New Zealand backline came to thank him for the game and one of the young centres called him Mister Henry as he got nervous talking to him! Little did he know that off the field, Henry wouldn’t have hurt a mouse, he is a gentle and kind father and a great friend.

6. What was your favourite moment in your career?

I grew up wanting to play sport so my favourite moments were always games and times when I played well and we won. Moments that stick out would be any championships, like winning the Currie Cup, and being part of a World cup winning side. That was a fantastic journey and I had a lot of fun as an older player, knowing how much time and effort it takes to be successful on the field, I could of enjoyed it more!

7. Who was your childhood idol?

I always looked up to Zinzan Brooke and Laurent Cabanne, two great and versatile loose forwards with a fearsome and well deserved reputation for being both skilled and tough. I also love my cricket so when South Africa started playing again Gary Kirsten, Alan Donald and the team at the time were very inspirational for me. My dad and family always participated in active sports and I watched my Dad playing rugby as a youngster which made me enjoy the team side of the game and want to be a good team mate.

8. What’s the first thing you are going to do when the lockdown restrictions are lifted?

The first thing I’m going to do is make sure I book a few hours of fishing - I can’t wait to sit next to a stream and cast a fly for a trout. Even if I don’t catch any, it will be a good place to reflect over the lockdown and how all of our lives have changed.