HE’S been one of Scone’s best this season, yet rugby was furthermost from Lourens Le Grange’s thoughts packing his bags to come out to Australia.
In fact he didn’t even bring his boots out with him.
“I didn’t have any boots at first. I had them sent from home,” Le Grange said.
Home is South Africa and, more specifically, Pretoria.
Rugby heartland over there, it’s suffice to say the sport has been a big part of Le Grange’s life.
That said, he had little intention of playing after taking a job on a horse stud.
But after being approached about having a run with the Brumbies while parading a horse, he succumbed to the rugby bug.
It’s been a mutually beneficial decision, with the 24-year-old enjoying playing with the Brumbies, and being a consistently strong performer for them.
Testament to that is that he is up towards the top of the zone best and fairest standings.
Working with horses is about as far removed from his life back in South Africa as you can get.
“I’m actually a personal trainer,” he said.
He has his own business back home, and coming out to Australia was partly to try to get a bit of money to build that up.
The horse thing wasn’t completely foreign to him though.
“My aunt’s got a stud, so I helped a bit,” he said.
It has been at times a bit of a juggle to play, but fortunately he has an understanding boss.
“I only get every second weekend off but the weekend I work I only work half a day so I can play,” Le Grange said.
A flanker by trade, Le Grange has spent a bit of time wearing the number two jersey this season – filling in there when needed.
“I’d never played hooker in my life before,” he said.
“I only started playing when we didn’t have a hooker.”
It hasn’t gone too bad, but he is a breakaway at heart.
“I’m so excited every time I get sent to the side of the scrum,” he said.
Against Tamworth on Saturday he started off at hooker but moved to the side for the second half, and was integral in the Brumbies’ second-half surge.
Not big by South African standards, his size has hindered him a bit.
“I’ve always been a bit small in South Africa and get overlooked,” he said.
They prefer big hulking figures.
One of the things he has enjoyed about Australia is they value smaller breakaways.
The win over Tamworth cemented the Brumbies’ second spot and set them on a likely finals course to meet Walcha.
Before that though, the two will match up in Scone tomorrow.
“We’re looking forward to them,” Le Grange said.
“We’re in great form at the moment.”
The Magpies are meanwhile headed down to Quirindi while in Tier 1, Gunnedah goes to Inverell and Narrabri and Moree clash in Narrabri.