Rugby 3.7.2015 12:53 pm

Serfontein will even play hooker

FILE PICTURE: Jan Serfontein during the South African National rugby team press conference at Cape Town Stadium on September 23, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Petri Oeschger/Gallo Images)

FILE PICTURE: Jan Serfontein during the South African National rugby team press conference at Cape Town Stadium on September 23, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Petri Oeschger/Gallo Images)

Young Springbok centre Jan Serfontein, 23, who has raced to 20 Tests since making his debut as a replacement against Italy in 2013, spoke openly this week about having a preference for the No 12 position, but added quickly he’ll even play hooker if he has to.

“I still prefer 12 as my first-choice centre position, but last year they picked me at 13 for the Boks and I’m just happy to be in the team and anywhere I can contribute, so I don’t mind playing wing or hooker even, I just want to add and contribute and I’m pretty comfortable with both centre positions at the moment.

“There are a couple of small differences between 12 and 13, at 12 you obviously get the ball a bit more and it’s very direct from first phase possession while 13 got a bit more space out wide, but at 13 you also see less ball.”

While three experienced Boks in Coenie Oosthuizen, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Frans Steyn esured the training group was reduced from 49 to 46, there have been a positive vibe.

“There some exciting youngsters coming through like (Bulls fullback) Jesse Kriel who had a very good Super Rugby season, and we’ll have to see whether he gets his chance, but he’ll take it with both hands, he’s a great player so I’m looking forward to what the new guys can bring.”

Serfontein himself is almost ready to return from a hip and knee injury.

“The injury has been a bit of a setback for me this year, but I’m getting back to where I want to be, maybe the fitness is a bit down, but it’s something you can work on, on your own, so I’m just hoping to get some game time for the games against the World XV and the upcoming Rugby Championship.

“Being out of the game is difficult, it’s not always nice to see the other guys playing and training and you badly want to be part of the team and the matches, but it’s something you have to make piece with and it motivates you to get better when you return.

“The World Cup is still a couple of months away and by that time I’ll hopefully be 100 percent again, and make the final selection.”

Serfontein is one of a breed of players in these modern times who has never shown his face at club level.

“I have never played senior club rugby as players these days gets taken straight from Cravenweek level to junior level, guys like Jesse and Handre (Pollard) also had very few opportunities to get to the club level option, it’s straight from U19 and U21s to the senior level.

“My brother and dad played club rugby (Boelie Serfontein jnr and snr), but it was amateur days back then and not yet professional days era, so I think that’s where the difference came in.

“Cravenweek is a vital stepping stone and even though there are many players who become Boks without ever playing at the tournamant I believe the Cravenweek gives you an edge when you compete at provincial level at a very young age.

Serfontein was part of a below-par Bulls campaign and in general for SA it was a forgettable one.

“The Super Rugby campaign was a disappointment for everyone, except maybe for the Stormers and the Lions, but even they couldn’t reach the semifinals.

“But I don’t think it will have a major impact on the Bok season, once they get joined at the camp it all translates to a next and higher level, as soon as they pull that Bok jersey over their shoulders, so I don’t think it should create much World Cup nightmares.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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