“I call him my silver back gorilla, ”says Reweti Montgomery, Uemoemenoe trainer. The New Zealander welcomed Riddersma to training for the first time just over a year ago. allowed to walk, ”Riddersma recalls.
Since then, Riddersma has learned a lot about rugby. Part of the reason, according to his trainer, is his high-level athletic background. “I don’t see the judoka in him that much, but notice it in his mentality. He always wants to be the best of himself and gives himself completely for the team.”
“It was definitely a change at the start,” says Riddersma. As a judoka he was responsible for winning or losing, but in rugby the team comes first. “Then sometimes you have to fix a mistake someone else made, but it also works the other way around and it helps me a lot as a newbie rugby player.”
When he showed up at Oemoemenoe a year ago, Middelburger, 26, had just returned to live in his hometown. In previous years he had lived at Topsportcentrum Papendal, near Arnhem, for his sports judo. “In the end, after four years, I quit in consultation with the national coach because I didn’t have the luck I hoped for.”
After a solid tackle, Sjors continues stiffly. This characterizes him as an athlete. “
Once back in “his” Middelburg, the retired top athlete wanted to do something again and decided to get into rugby. “Like judo, rugby is a physical sport. Of course, I had already experienced this and it seemed useful to me.
Riddersma has not yet regretted his choice: as a rugby player, he is holding on with Oemoemenoe. “Thanks to judo, I know how to use my body,” explains Riddersma, who, in his own words, “is mainly used for better beech work” by his trainer. Montgomery: “Recently he was attacked hard, then I wanted to change him. But Sjors shook his head and continued stiffly. That says a lot about his position on the pitch.”
Beginning of the heavy season
On Saturday the coach and the player can start immediately, as Oemoemenoe opens the new season against Diok. The Leiden team is one of the strongest teams in the Honor League. Riddersma is curious if he can measure up to the top of the Netherlands. “Last season I played in the first and second, but with a lot of help from my teammates I got a lot better. I want to develop more this season.”
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