Somerville to get his 100th cap




Greg Somerville is Mr Versatility of both the All Black and Crusaders front rows with his ability to play at both loosehead and tighthead prop at international level.

That title might change to Mr Durability on Saturday night as the Crusaders prop runs out for his 100th Super rugby appearance ‘ a significant achievement for someone in the physically demanding engine room of the game.

The 28-year-old never thought he’d even be a Crusader let alone notch up 100 games for the franchise.

‘I suppose you never think you’ll be around this long. I never thought I’d even make the Crusaders so this is something that I’ll really cherish,’ says the former Hawke’s Bay man who made the Crusaders after just one game for Canterbury.

Somerville has started in every game bar one for the Crusaders this season and he came off the bench in the other against the Western Force which ensured he will play his 100th match in this Saturday’s semifinal against the Bulls.

‘At the start of the season I knew if I played every game and we made the semifinals there might be a chance of getting to the 100 but this week it’s on the backburner a bit because it’s such a big game.’

He sees his achievement as very much secondary to the task at hand on Saturday.

‘The 100 games is done and dusted once you run out. That’s not going to get you through the game and make you play well. The fact that you’ve played 100 games doesn’t get you anywhere and this is a very important game. I just need to concentrate on the tasks that I’ve got on the field. We’re playing for keeps now ‘ there’s no lives left.’

Somerville expects the Bulls’ excitement at making the semifinals to eliminate any issues they may have with jet lag.

‘They’ve got nothing to lose and it’s never been easy game against them. They’re great scrummagers and they’ve got a huge pack so as a front row we’ll have to turn up with the right frame of mind and leave nothing in the tank because we can’t afford to. ‘

Somerville recalls his debut against the Chiefs in 1999 as his most cherished moment in the Crusaders jersey while the victory over the table-topping Brumbies in the 2000 final in Canberra is the most memorable of the four Super 12 titles he’s won.

Looking back to those early days will giveSomerville a clear understanding of what his fellow prop – rookie Wyatt Crockett ‘ will be going through come kickoff time.

‘I’m not someone who gets in the ear of a young player. I just like to reassure them that what they’re doing is good and ensure they’ve got the confidence to get into it. It’s really refreshing to have young keen players around you and it’s exciting to watch them come on.’

This week the 49 test veteran returns to tighthead prop ‘ the position he has played most of his rugby at until recent years.

‘It doesn’t really phase me which side I play on. I haven’t had a lot of time at tighthead recently so it’s good to get a run there. It probably just takes a bit more concentration switching from one side to the other all the time.’

Whether it’s Mr Versatility or Mr Durability that he’ll be known as after Saturday night, winning a spot in the inaugural Super 14 final will be the best way for this team man to celebrate his achievement.

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