Saints star Van Velze ready for England test

UP FOR THE CHALLENGE - Gerrit-Jan van Velze
UP FOR THE CHALLENGE - Gerrit-Jan van Velze

GERRIT-JAN VAN VELZE believes playing in England will be the ultimate test.

Van Velze has switched to Saints after representing South African side Blue Bulls in Super Rugby and the Currie Cup.

The 24-year-old left his homeland looking to push himself to the limit in an unfamiliar environment.

And the ambitious No.8 is relishing the challenge of playing Premiership rugby after making a big decision to move overseas.

“I wouldn’t say it’s difficult, it’s just the uncertainty comes in a little bit,” said van Velze when asked if he found it tough to leave home.

“People are saying I’m very young leaving my family and friends behind and it’s tough to do that but if you’re not going to challenge yourself in life you’re going to go nowhere and that’s how I saw it.

“I wanted to have a new challenge in life and that’s why I’ve come to England, there’s no better way of testing yourself.”

Van Velze has linked up with Brett Sharman at Franklin’s Gardens and the presence of his friend and fellow South African has helped the new boy settle in.

But it’s not just Sharman who has welcomed van Velze with open arms, as he explains.

“All the lads have been very welcoming to me, very open and friendly,” he said. “I’ve played against some of the lads before and I’m staying with Brett (Sharman).

“Me and Brett know each other for quite some time now and he knows around the block what to do and where to go so I just fall in with him.”