De La Harpe Selected for Barbarians

Namibian rugby player Ryan de la Harpe will become the first Namibia to represent the famous Barbarians team when they take on Irish club Clontarf FC on Wednesday, 23 April. Here is an article about De La Harpe which appeared on his club, Fylde’s website:

Popular Fylde scrum-half Ryan De La Harpe has been selected for the world famous Barbarians as part of their squad which takes on Irish club Clontarf FC on Wednesday, 23rd April to celebrate the millennium anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf*.

He is very proud to be selected but particularly so as he will be the first Namibian to earn a BaaBaas cap.

Fylde coach Mark Nelson said he was delighted for De La Harpe, who has had an excellent season for the Woodlands club:

“We always encourage our players if they get picked for representative rugby and it is a particular honour for Ryan as he is the first Namibian to represent his country. He is not the first Fylde player to be picked and the club is very proud when any player is selected for the Barbarians.”

[De La Harpe follows Sam Beaumont, Josh Beaumont, Paul Arnold, Gareth Rawlings amp Nick Royle who have all been selected by the BaaBaas in recent years whilst Fylde players. Olly Viney also earned a Barbarians cap, whilst he was a Preston Grasshoppers player.]

Ryan has had two seasons at the Woodlands following spells with West Park, Sale Sharks amp Moseley. He represented Namibia in the 2011 World Cup. He has played particularly well during the current season and has scooped a number of man of the match awards. He has also represented Lancashire on many occasions.

Ryan makes a major contribution to rugby development with his coaching responsibilities including at Myerscough College’s Rugby Academy and with the School of Hard Knocks.

Ryan de la Harpe’s rugby journey is a long and compelling one. He was born in Walvis Bay in Namibia and has two younger brothers, Darryl amp Sergio, both of whom have also represented their country at rugby. He made international appearances at U’16, U’17 and U’18s level and was also a member of the South Africa under-21 elite squad. He played for Orange Free State University, Orange Free State and the African Leopards, an all-Africa representative squad.

He moved to the UK in 2007 and initially his rugby opportunities were restricted due to his visa status. He joined Letchworth RUFC in 2007 for a couple of months and moved to West Park (St Helens) in 20089 when he also linked up with Sale Sharks. He played numerous games for the Jets as well as starring for Park in North One. This gave him exposure to the Lancashire selectors and he has played in three successful county championship campaigns. His appearances at Twickenham have been the highlight of his career in England.

Perhaps his lowest point was early in 2010 when he still hadn’t resolved the visa issue and couldn’t play rugby above regional or second team level. As Brian Dick said in the Birmingham Post: “his hopes of representing Sale, or even Fylde for whom he made a few 2nd team appearances, seemed in tatters as he was left to jog around Preston, practice his passing against a pock-marked wall and loft box-kicks to himself.”

But his selection by Lancashire in May 2010 gave him a stage on which to show his talent and his career in the UK at last blossomed. He earned a full-time contract with Moseley who were impressed by his pace, courage and an insatiable appetite for hard work.

He then moved to the international arena where he made his first three appearances for Namibia in the 2011 Nations Cup in Bucharest where he played against Romania, Portugal and Georgia. During the 2011 Rugby World Cup, de la Harpe made three appearances as a replacement in the games with Fiji, South Africa and Wales. He is also a 7s specialist and has played in many tournaments for many teams in the last decade.

Source : The Namibian