When Huw Jones and Rohan Janse van Rensburg line up as direct opponents in Saturday’s Currie Cup semifinal at Newlands, both will have the same mission.
Yes, they’ll want to see Western Province and Lions respectively into the final but that shouldn’t actually be their main motivation.
Making up for lost time is what must drive them.
2017 was supposed to be the year where these two men reached new heights.’
Both had so-called breakthrough seasons in 2016 and became internationals – one for Scotland, the other for the Springboks.
They were touted as the men to spearhead the Stormers and Lions’ attacking play.
But injuries dashed those hopes.
Janse van Rensburg isn’t going anywhere yet Jones really does need to make this weekend’s clash count.
It could be his last in Western Province colours as he returns to Scotland by joining Glasgow after this campaign.
“It is always disappointing to get injured. I already knew it was going to be my last season and I was very disappointed to miss out on the whole of Super Rugby,” said Jones, who was born in Edinburgh but studied at UCT.
“I sort of had the hopes of it being my year, hopefully, to kick on with Super Rugby, but I obviously didn’t get that opportunity, so I have tried to make the most of this Currie Cup. If we can go on and win it that would be the perfect ending.”
The 23-year-old centre admits he’s not a particularly emotional player but he’ll definitely miss playing at Newlands.
“There are not many places like it. There is definitely no other place like it in South Africa. It has the best atmosphere, even though it is not always full,” he said.
Sentimentality though won’t get him far if he can’t keep Janse van Rensburg, known as Trokkie (Little Truck), in check.
“Rohan and (centre partner) Harold Vorster are two good players. They are two big physical ball carriers,” said Jones.
“They like to come hard, but playing against them a few times we know how to deal with them. It is quite a nice battle to have in midfield.”