Lockdown: Paul Willemse

Paul Willemse is a big lad. Standing at 2.01 m (6 ft 7 in) and weighing in at 126 kg (19 st, 277 lb) my guess it that if you cross paths with this guy on the rugby field then you’re likely to remember it.

However it would be all too easy to categorise Paul Willemse just on the basis of his size. There’s more to what he has to offer. He personifies much of what is expected today of a modern day second rower in rugby: he’s got speed, mobility, and he knows what to do with the ball. He has scored over 100 points since his move to Montpellier. That’s not so bad for a lock!

If you like the t-shirt Paul is wearing, you can view it HERE

Willemse’s rugby CV is impressive and includes the Bulls, and Golden Lions in his native South Africa. Today, WIllemse’s rugby is played with Top14 French side Montpellier (since 2015). Prior to that he did one season with French side Grenoble. The South African born lock qualified in 2019 to play with the French national team — an opportunity which he did not need to think twice about! He has impressed whether in the Montpellier or the French jersey and at 28 years of age, we are certain he has plenty of successful years ahead of him!

NSNW is delighted to be associated with Willemse. Obviously he’s a forward, and therefore a crucial part of any scrum (yes, scrums are more than just the front rowers!). We admire his leadership, playing style and his overall positive attitude. He’s a tough competitor but also has a sense of humour! And that always helps!

Instagram account: @paulwillemse4

Rapid "Tight 5" questions for Paul:

1.When you were growing up, who was the rugby player that inspired you most?

Willem ALBERTS was one of my favorite players when I was growing up / in high school. He was the original big hitter / bone collector kind of role! I looked up to him for being aggressive and making a big impact on the field both on the ball, and in defense.

2.Your favorite LOCK of all time?

My favorite lock of all time is Victor MATFIELD because I played with him and he coached me for a while.

3. Favorite PROP to pack down behind?

At the moment it's Demba BAMBA who I play with in the French team. He's a young player and I still think there's lots of experience left for him and he's going to be one of the great props!

4. Best moment of your career so far?

Must be my first test TRY! When I scored against Wales in the 2020 Six Nations. That was pretty amazing!

5. Apart from rugby, do you enjoy (watching or playing) any other sport?

To be honest, not mush outside of rugby as I like to be careful and protect myself. I don't want to risk picking up injuries outside of rugby. But I do keep myself busy by learning new skills

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