12th Mar 2021
Reinhard Nothnagel has extended his contract with the Lions Rugby Company for another three years and have captained the Lions in their first two preparation games.
The lanky lock has climbed the ladder within the Lions’ structures since his school-going days at Monument Hoërskool, moving through the ranks of all the junior teams. He finally made his Super Rugby debut against the Hurricanes in 2019.
The 23-year-old told a media briefing last year that All Black star lock Sam Whitelock was his big hero. “He’s won everything there is in the game and growing up I looked up to him and the way he plays. He’s a line-out captain, he’s got a physical presence at the breakdown, he’s a leader on and off the field, and I admire that.”
We caught up with the lanky 2,02 m lock ahead of the kick-off of the 2021 Preparation matches. “I managed to complete my BCom studies, majoring in insurance, risk management and marketing at Wits at the end of last year. I used the time during lockdown to my advantage.”
He was very excited about the prospect of leading the Lions side against the NNC Pumas this weekend “It is a huge honour for me to lead the Lions, especially as I have represented them since my primary school days. It is any boys’ dream so I am very excited for the challenge ahead.”
Looking back at the year that was 2020, Nothnagel said it certainly was an interesting and unique year. “Not playing rugby was a challenge as it is my passion.
“2020 was a unique and interesting year for us all and especially without playing rugby, which is my passion. But I had studies to focus on up to this point and during lockdown so that kept me busy. Going from normal to a lockdown for some time was definitely challenging,” Nothnagel remembers.
Nothnagel was born and bred in Krugersdorp where rugby has a long and rich history.
“Coming from a small mining town like Krugersdorp, rugby is a special sport at the school with lots of history…one of my fondest memories will certainly be beating Grey Bloem in near darkness at the Wildeklawer tournament in 2015 which was their first loss at the tournament in their history.
The road to senior rugby is often long and riddled with setbacks. Tell us how you have experienced your path to senior rugby and who has played big roles on the way.
“Becoming a pro rugby player is certainly not as easy as it seems to the general public and is often riddled with setbacks…I’ve had a couple of setbacks with regards to injuries as I had a few operations and that set me back a bit…but I am fortunate enough to have a very good support structure outside of rugby and my family has certainly played a big role to my minimal success thus far.
And lock that he has looked up to since his high school days? “Bakkies and Victor as they were the perfect combo for a lock pairing and managed to stay the best for almost their entire careers.”