Franco Mostert: One to watch

Franco Mostert
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The Rugby World Cup 2019 is well and truly over, the celebrations have just about died down and the focus can once again properly turn to league competitions. None more so than the highly competitive Gallagher Premiership which saw 78 players give up club duties to play for their country in Japan.

Three weeks on from the final and Kingsholm still awaits the return of World Cup-winning lock Franco Mostert to their Cherry and White’s line-up.

Mostert featured in all seven of South Africa’s World Cup games, including their 32-12 victory over England in the final to claim rugby’s most prestigious prize.

Franco Mostert

With this experience and confidence under his belt, his return to English playing soil is one to be highly anticipated. Gloucester currently sits in a comfortable fourth position in the league but, can they be bolstered by Mostert who’s entering his second season for the club?

Here’s why I think so.

Support base of Family helps concentrate on ‘work’

Behind every great sportsman, there’s a support base which attributes to make them into the person and athlete they are. Family, friends, coaching staff, teammates, their home, a grassroots club all have an influence and can provide moving stories that contribute to the character of a person.

Mostert is very openly a family man. His social media is filled with images and dedications to his childhood sweetheart, now wife, and two daughters. In his first media conference at Gloucester, he spoke about the impact his close family has on him.

“It’s so safe here, it’s better for the family and takes a lot of stress off you so I just think you can just enjoy it more what you’re doing.

“I think it takes a lot off your mind and allows you to concentrate on the team and concentrate on what you want to do at work and that will definitely make you a better rugby player.”

Since the interview, he has welcomed a second healthy child, settled into his new surroundings and has less to worry about in terms of crime and the safety of his girls. Gloucestershire is a far cry from crime-ridden Johannesburg. In a list of the World’s Safest Countries, South Africa comes in at 112th (also making it the 50th most dangerous country) compared to the 35th safest United Kingdom.

With having such safety concerns and worries taken away, he can concentrate fully on the job and sport at hand. Anyone would have peace of mind knowing that their family is taken care of. Therefore, greater focus and determination can only lead to greater performance.

Familiarity; Mostert and Johan Ackermann

Moving country and starting a new job is a daunting process for anybody. A change in culture and language and having to adapt to a different way of doing things. The former Golden Lions player made a journey of over 8,000 miles to join Gloucester last season. However, a few familiar faces had made the trip before him.

Mostert had previously played under Gloucester head coach Johan Ackermann in South Africa. He already knew his style of coaching and was a familiar face he could also communicate with using the native tongue.

Ackermann was also responsible for bringing over Francois Marais and his son Ruan to the Gloucester team. Knowing players that had successfully completed the transition eased the process for Mostert and meant he could settle in quicker.

Gloucester’s Franco Mostert in action during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Harlequins and Gloucester Rugby at on December 1, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Bob Bradford – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Now with a full season under his belt, he’s also accustomed to the Cherry and Whites way of playing and new teammates to work with.

Things can only get better the more you familiarise yourself with them and are comfortable. The relationship of the team and the fluidity of the game will flow with Franco Mostert being a key part of the working machine rather than a ‘new’ player learning his place.

Franco Mostert; Impressive statistics

You can’t be a good rugby player without playing the game well. All the external factors may help, but without the skill and knowledge of the game, you wouldn’t get very far.

Franco made an impressive start in his first season at Gloucester. He made an impact in his opening game with a showstopping performance against Exeter in the Heineken Champions Cup and has continued to impress since. He’s nimble around the park, a powerful defensive force and competitive in the line-out.

At the World Cup, he too impressed. He was a staple on the team sheet for every match, even as a super substitute to help finish off the final victory. His stats from the World Cup don’t have much room for scrutiny either. He had a tackle success rate of 88% and only made three handling errors in all seven games.

RugbyPass rate rank Franco Mostert as the sixth-best lock in the World and the second-best lock in the Premiership behind Saracens’ George Kruis.

The best is yet to come

With job and family security not a worry for the 28-year-old, his sole focus can be on his rugby and bettering himself as a player and a member of the team. In recent seasons, Gloucester has been improving year on year, going from 9th to 7th, to 3rd last season. They are in a good position and a stable platform for the man to display his talent and help with the development of the whole squad.

The family man is humble and gifted and now has the confidence of a winning World Cup medal. Franco Mostert is an important asset to any team and will be warmly welcomed back to Kingsholm when he makes his return in the next few weeks. The Shed will sure be calling out his name and we predict he will make an impact on the remainder of the 2019/20 Premiership campaign and for Gloucester who pushes for a top spot in the league.

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