After a season in which his career has gone up several levels, Moseley’s Ryan De La Harpe is now focusing on the highest one of all.
The box-of-tricks scrum-half, whose individualism created and scored the try that effectively secured his team’s Championship status at Damson Park last Sunday, has set his sights on breaking into the Namibian set-up.
The 28-year-old plays his final game of a breakthrough season at Billesley Common this weekend after which he will return to his homeland.
He will take part in squad trials and if successful could join his brothers centre Darryl and full-back Sergio at the IRB Nations Cup in June.
And a decent showing at that event in Romania, where Namibia are the reigning champions, could put the eldest sibling on the road to the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
“My next goal is playing for Namibia – if all goes well,” he says. “I haven’t been home for quite a while and my family are really excited. My brothers are excited too, they are playing Vodafone Cup with one game left but we will see what happens. I try not to get ahead of myself.”
De La Harpe’s campaign is proof of that. The former Sale Jet arrived at Moseley in the summer and despite having a couple of pre-season outings was made to wait several months for a consistent run in the side.
His first three starts, against Bedford, Worcester and Nottingham were promising without being conclusive but an outstanding display in the British & Irish Cup at London Welsh in December earned him his chance.
Since then he has retained his flair for the unorthodox but also developed his game management and has been one of the standout players in the play-offs with three tries and some brilliant broken-field running.
“In the beginning it was very difficult but I am glad if I look back that I took on board what was said, kept learning and kept going. I am happy with how things turned out – definitely.
“I am happy, the weather is changing, we love running rugby. In training we run at each other but at the beginning of the season that stayed on the training field sometimes but we couldn’t bring it to the game – that was frustrating if you can’t pull it off because you know what you are capable of.
“My confidence has grown a lot and I can definitely take a lot out of this – especially the last few games when I felt I had all the freedom because the coaches backed me – and that helps a lot.
“When I make a mistake I try to move on. Before you take a step back and get a bit nervous. There are still a few things to work on to improve.”
And De La Harpe could be set for the perfect environment in which to do so.