Nov 27, 2015
Tributes flood in for retiring legend
When you are looking for ways to describe a player, the best way is to speak to those around him, those who have played with him, those who have coached him and those who have watched him in action.
It just goes to show that Ernst Joubert’s six-year stint with Saracens have left quite the mark on teammates who have lined up with him, opponents have battled against him, coaches who have called upon him and those who have written about him throughout his spell with the Men in Black.
Below are some of the extracts we have received in the past few weeks ahead of Ernst’s last game.
Mark McCall (Saracens Director of Rugby)
“Ernst has been a truly fantastic player during his six years at Saracens. He has played a huge role in helping us become a side that is challenging on the field and has been extremely important in establishing a brilliant culture off the field.
“What has been so impressive is his appetite to continue to learn as a player, even in the autumn years of his career. He was a player who set the standards both on and off the pitch. He acted as brilliant mentor and role model for the young crop of forwards. He has had a willingness to front up day in day out, hardly missed a training session in six years. He as been the ultimate team man.
“I’m sure all Saracens fans will give Ernie the send-off he so richly deserves.”
Steve Borthwick (Saracens’ 2011 Premiership winning captain)
“It was a great honour to have played in the same Saracens team as Ernst for so many years. He has been central to the development of Saracens that has helped bring the club to be consistently one of the best in Europe.
“His play on the field has been terrific, and his leadership and calmness under pressure is something everybody could learn from.
“His legacy at the club will last a very long time as so many young players will have learnt so much from him. However, it is his quality as a person that will always stand out to me, and I feel very fortunate, along with many other friends at Saracens to have shared the journey, and created lots of great memories with Ernst.”
Neil De Kock (Saracens scrum-half)
“I had played against Ernie for many years, dating way back to my South Africa days way before I came over to Saracens. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the resurgence of Saracens happened when he arrived.
“He was at the heart of the club’s change from 2009. Most of all, he’s a fantastic friend and is a guy who has lived and breathed the culture here at the club. We have some really fond memories together – we’ll miss him.”
Francois Louw (Bath Rugby & South African flanker)
“Retirement is something a young player believes will never come but as you get on, the reality creeps closer every year. Yours has finally come and you can be immensely proud of the career you had, both in SA and here in the UK.
“I know you play rugby for the same reasons I do and with that I know your memory bank is full which will pay you dividends for the rest of your life. Good luck in the next chapter my friend. Flo.”
Nick Mullins (BT Sport Rugby Commentator)
“There were days before Ernst, but they were the days before Saracens were champions. And then he arrived and helped transform the club from one that made up the numbers to kings of England. He was absolutely central to it all.
“He made up a back row raiding party that included Brown, Melck, Saull, Wray, Burger and Fraser. But he was the boss. Who remembers Welford Road in 2011? “I want 50″ he said. And Ernst got them.”
Tony Roche (The Sun)
“Think Ernst Joubert and you’re suddenly in the middle of a big occasion.
“The powerful South African back row made his 2009 debut in a 18-14 ‘double-header’ victory over London Irish at Twickenham.
“When regular skipper Steve Borthwick was injured two months before the end of the following season, Joubert captained the side all the way to the Aviva Premiership final where they lost a thriller 33-27 to Leicester at Twickenham.
“No shock that Joubert’s 100th appearance for Saracens was against Munster in another thunderous Heineken Cup clash.
“Absolutely no surprise that he started Saracens first Premiership game at their Allianz Park home, a win over Exeter in 2012.
“Scan Joubert’s six year career with Saracens and you’ll find he played a massive role in three further Premiership finals at H.Q – two of them crowning the team champions of England – and three European Cup semi-finals in a row including the 2014 final.
“Some players make a splash when they join a club, others make waves.
“Ernst Joubert’s contribution to the team’s current status as “the best in Europe” (Austin Healey, twice European Cup winner, Belfast, November 20) has been tidal.”
Hugh Godwin – Independent on Sunday
“Soon after Ernst came to Saracens, the club enjoyed a rare win at Bath and some scribbler in the ‘Independent on Sunday’ wrote: “Joubert is vying for the tag of the highest-quality South African arrival in Hertfordshire these past few months”.
“Ernst had some good company in Schalk Brits and Wikus van Heerden to name just two, but week after week his performances flying into tackles and putting steel into the set-piece obliged you to make a mental tick against his name.
“Good, hard game there,” you’d think, then “good, hard game again”, then “hmm, another good, hard game!” With very little fuss – or that’s how he made it seem – Ernst was at the heart of the team’s upturn in results.”