THE RESURGENCE of the Cheetahs could be attributed to a host of factors, but none were more compelling than the form of a dynamic duo of twin brothers that took the competition by storm.
The Cheetahs, despite their mid- to lower-table position, were among the form teams of the competition through April and May, riding on the back of a mighty winning streak going into the Bulls clash last month.
At one stage they were the competition’s second highest pointscorers, second only to the Crusaders, and were playing some of the most attractive, champagne and oyster rugby on the planet.
The Ebersohn twins, Sias at first five and Robert at centre, have been the mainstays in this young Cheetahs side.
Sias recently made Super Rugby history by becoming the first player in the tournament’s long and rich history to score 20 points or more in four successive games, before his measly 14-point haul against the Rebels! He could have made it five in a row but was replaced on the hour-mark by Naas Olivier. He is one of the top sharpshooters in the competition and accumulated (179) points this season.
Robert is no slouch either, and while he only picked up two tries, his form was equally irrepressible. Both look destined for higher honours.
They may not be identical twins but it is hard to separate them with regard to talent and future prospects, with both slotting into Super Rugby as easily as they slotted into the Grey College Under 9 team.
The pair has played more than 250 matches together, starting in Grade 1 at Grey College, but separated after school when Robert went to play for the Springbok Sevens team. Sias was disappointed not to follow him, flinching slightly at the fact that he was not selected like his ‘younger’ brother.
“Playing for the sevens team is going to extend my career by three years. I think every young player should follow that route as you learn so many more skills,” says Robert.
“My goal was for the Cheetahs to finish as strongly as possible in this year’s competition, but I am really dreaming of playing for the Bok Sevens at the 2016 Olympic Games.”
“I would love to win an Olympic gold,” he adds with stars in his eyes, and this is one of the many reasons why the IOC made the right decision in bringing rugby into the fold. The lure of a gold medal in the greatest sports spectacle on the globe is a mighty driving force.
Ironically enough, at primary school, Robert used to kick at the poles, but a timely intervention by coach Marius Berry ensured the younger twin focused more on sprinting and side-stepping, while the quieter of the two brothers stepped up to the kicking plate, with immediate success.
In fact, Robert played No 8 until Grade 11, turning out for the Grey Under 16 A side as a loose forward. He moved to centre only the following year, and this may account for his aggressive and ferocious tackling, despite being just shy of 90kg.
Sias, the older of the 22-year-olds by 35 seconds, is also shy, not just in terms of weight, but also in personality.
Sias says he and his brother have similar personalities, just different hobbies and lifestyles.
“Ja, he’s right, Sias used to like fat chicks,” Robert says, tongue in cheek.
Sias admits that it will be tough to break up their partnership now, saying that they each got great offers from various franchises but they want to stick together for a bit longer.
“In a word, the reason we are still playing together at the Cheetahs is loyalty … we played representative rugby for the Free State all our lives – everything we did we did together, here in Bloemfontein,” Sias says.
The Cheetahs were a tour de force in this year’s Super Rugby, playing a fast-paced, offensive style of rugby that put bums on seats and points on the log.
Robert is the faster of the two, running sub-five seconds for the 40 metre dash, but according to Sias, he is stronger.
“Sias does 110kg bench-press, same as me,” says Robert. “No, no, look at these guns,” says Sias, pointing to his biceps, “they can do 120 kilograms easy.”
Sias sheepishly admits that his mum used to dress them up exactly the same for many years.
“But as soon as we got older we went our separate fashion ways.”
“Yep, his girlfriend dresses him now,” laughs Robert.
“Now that I’m dressing well you take all my clothes,” Sias quips back.
The banter and teasing is constant but there is an underlying respect for each other’s achievements.
Robert knows Sias’ kicking percentage and he knows that without his brother the Cheetahs would not be the force they have become. The feeling is mutual.
When asked what they would have done if they had not played rugby the one brother answers for the other.
“Robert would be a quantity surveyor.”
“And Sias would be a professional hunter.”
Whatever they would have been is moot. The point is this Cheetahs duo were the talk of the South African conference for several weeks.« Back to Archives
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