The reason why Jan Serfontein needs to be even better

Jan Serfontein has a bigger incentive than most to keep his standards high. Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images.

Jan Serfontein has a bigger incentive than most to keep his standards high. Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images.

The Springboks centre not only needs to anchor his side’s attack in the Rugby Championship, there’s selection policy to think about.

Jan Serfontein might’ve performed like a world-class player in the Springboks’ series against France but he’s arguably going to have to outdo himself in the upcoming Rugby Championship.

The classy midfielder has decided against renewing his national contract with the South African Rugby Union (Saru) and is moving overseas at the end of the season.

Also read: Four talking points as the Springboks go into camp

It won’t keep him out of the Springboks team though because he would’ve played the mandatory 30 Tests for a overseas-based player to keep playing internationally.

However, there’s another headache for the 24-year-old.

It seems Springboks coach Allister Coetzee is becoming more and more reluctant to pick men from the foreign legion.

After selecting three for the battles against France, Coetzee has only included scrumhalf Francois Hougaard this time round.

Serfontein is eminently aware of that.

“You definitely have to think carefully about going overseas,” he said.

“It’s now even more so because the seasons’ calendars differ as well as the playing conditions. It’s definitely going to be interesting to see how the overseas policy is implemented over the next few years.

“There seems to be a trend that overseas based players are being picked less.”

But Serfontein, who hasn’t decided on a new club yet, doesn’t want to place too much pressure on himself.

“I don’t know if the whole situation means I have to perform better than local players,” he said.

“I’m just going to give my best to the team and not focus on that.”

2017 has been a breakthrough season of sorts for Serfontein.

He’s been injury-free and his extended run has allowed him to finally realise some of his rich potential.

Interestingly, it’s also been the Springboks’ excellent environment that has influenced him positively.

Perhaps even more so than the struggling Bulls.

“The culture has been great. There’s a real sense of team effort here and the environment has allowed us all to perform to the best of our potential,” said Serfontein.

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