Lean revives Stoop family legend

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WINDHOEK – Being a descendant of a famous clan could be quite an insurmountable mountain to scale while following in the footsteps of legends has never been an easy task to fulfill – let alone if both your father and uncle were among the finest athletes in the business.

Lean Stoop is the first born of former South West Africa flank Leon Stoop, elder brother of one of Namibia’s finest athletes, the legendary Andre Stoop, who once stood on the threshold of Springbok selection following his impressive display for the Barbarians.

The Stoop siblings Leon and Andre formed an integral part of the invincible Biltongboere outfit that made headlines in their heydays – winning back-to-back promotion from the South African provincial second tier rugby competition, the Sport Pienaar Trophy, to the elite Currie Cup competition.

The Andre Stoop-inspired South West Africa (SWA) amateurs surprised all and sundry by claiming the scalps of rugby heavyweights including that famous win at a wet Newlands Stadium against the much fancied Western Province, in Cape Town in 1988.

Now, more than two decades later, another Stoop in the shape of young flanker Lean has stepped up to the plate and is living the Stoop legacy.

A product of Wanderers and the national youth team, the strongly built Lean, 25, has gone a step further than his famous old man Leon. He has been identified as a great potential professional rugby player by the South African KwaZulu/Natal franchise the Sharks, who have taken the speedy fullback under their wing for a two-month trial period.

His near faultless display during the recent final match between Wanderers and United was enough to convince talent scouts from the Sharks, who resolved to run an eagle eye over the highly gifted youngster alongside his Wanderers team-mate Tinus du Plessis.

The Namibian pair will be placed in the care of the KwaZulu Natal franchise for two months and will be assessed whereupon the technical staff will make a final decision as to whether they will be offered contracts or not.

An overly excited JP Nel, head coach of the White Stallions, says both players have what it takes to make the grade but more importantly: “The training environment will come in quite handy for the players’ progress. At 25, Lean is fairly young and could go much further because he certainly possesses all the required ingredients to become a top class rugby player.”