Gouws loving city, playing for Otago

Otago halfback Rowan Gouws at training at the Edgar Centre earlier this week. Photo: Gregor...
Otago halfback Rowan Gouws at training at the Edgar Centre earlier this week. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Have boots, will travel.

Rowan Gouws is the latest South African to join Otago and it is not taking long for him to impress.

Gouws (24) is a nippy halfback, who has strength with the ball and also possesses a good pass.

The South African is loving his time in Dunedin and enjoying the Otago season, especially after the side picked up a win last Sunday in a successful Ranfurly Shield defence against Taranaki.

"We had a really intense week last week and really trained hard. We knew it was going to be a tough game and it was a great one to win," Gowns said.

Gowns was born in South Africa and moved around, spending some time in Durban with the Sharks and the being part of the Kings side on the Eastern Cape, which competed in the Pro 14 competition in Europe.

He then moved to the Asia Pacific Dragons in Singapore and played under Otago assistant coach Ryan Martin in the shortened Global Rapid Rugby season.

At the end of the Dragons season, Martin mentioned there could be an opportunity in Otago so Gouws decided to head south.

"I'm loving it here. In South Africa there is a lot of people leaving at the moment.

"There is a lot of politics involved and with a quota system. They have changed some age-groups, dropped some sides. There is the Currie Cup, and then the division below that, they cut some teams out.

"So it is tough. Then it is safer in other places. My parents have moved. My dad is into mining so they ended up going to Chile and help with the mining there."

Gouws said the coaching of Martin and Otago defence coach Lee Allan in Singapore had been a real bonus for his game so it made sense to come to Dunedin.

Playing for the Dragons was under different rules - lineouts and scrums had a time limit and teams could not gain ground when kicking directly into touch, no matter where the kicker was standing.

There was also a nine-point "power try" should teams score a try, which started within 22m of its own tryline.

Gouws said the kicking rule was tough on the forwards as there was plenty of running and the kicking rule opened the game up.

Gouws is working as a house master at Otago Boys' High School and is loving Dunedin.

A knee injury has ruled him out of Sunday's game against Wellington in the capital but it is not serious.

Gowns said he had no firm plans for the future but was looking to continue playing in some part of the world.

 - Four Otago players have been named in the New Zealand Schools Barbarians team .

John McGlashan College provides hooker George Bell and loose forward Leroy Ferguson while King's High School inside back Giovanni Leituala has been selected along with Otago Boys' High School winger Michael Manson.

The Barbarians side will be coached by Gus Leger.

There are no players from the South in the main New Zealand Schools team to be coached by Highlanders assistant coach Mark Hammett.

The two sides will play practice matches in Palmerston North next month before playing Fiji Schools and Australia under-18 in Hamilton.

There are 29 schools represented in the two teams from 12 different unions.

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