Willem Petrus (WP) Nel is a South African-born tighthead prop who qualified on residency grounds to play for Scotland in 2015 and subsequently made his debut against Italy in the Summer Tests that year.
He was named in the 2015 World Cup squad and played in every match as Scotland reached the quarter-finals, scoring a try against USA in the process.
A cornerstone of the Edinburgh pack, Nel is a well-respected scrummager and abrasive ball carrier, and is his consistency means reaching 150 club caps is a distinct possibility.
In 2018, after recovering from a broken arm, WP returned to the Scotland squad in time for the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations, coming off the bench at BT Murrayfield against England in Scotland's historic Calcutta Cup win, and won four more caps at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Through the ranks...
As a stand-out for Western Province in the 2008 Vodacom Cup, Nel was loaned to Boland Kaveliers to compete in the Currie Cup, where he was spotted, and snapped up, by the Free State Cheetahs.
Nel stayed a Cheetah for four years from his Super Rugby debut against the Waratah’s at the tail end of 2009.
He then starred in the club’s journey to the Currie Cup final in which his highlight was undoubtedly a semi-final overpowering of Natal Sharks’ South Africa internationalist Tendai ‘the Beast’ Mtawarira.
These fledgling performances paved the way for Nel’s selection for the Cheetah’s narrow loss to the British & Irish Lions in 2009 (24-26), where he packed down against future colleague Ross Ford, before starting as the only non-capped player in the Barbarians’ win over the All Blacks at Twickenham (25-18).
Date of birth: 30/04/86
Scotland Debut: August 2015
Place of birth: Loeriesfontein, South Africa
2012 to present
Bloemfontein, South Africa
2009 to 2012
Ireland (replacement), Italy (replacement), France (replacement)
Italy, Wales, England, France(3), Georgia, Ireland(2), Samoa, Russia (replacement), Japan
England (replacement), Ireland (replacement), Italy, Wales, Fiji, South Africa, Argentina (replacement)
Italy, USA, Fiji, Samoa
England, Wales, Italy, France, Ireland, Japan, Japan (replacement)
Italy (replacement), Italy, France, Japan, USA (replacement), South Africa, Samoa, USA