Marnitz Boshoff earned his first Springbok cap against Scotland last weekend, but he’s adamant he’s not going to be a one-Test wonder.
The Lions flyhalf featured off the bench in the Boks’ 55-6 victory in Port Elizabeth, playing for 10 minutes after replacing another debutant on the day, Handré’, Pollard, who started in the No10 jersey for the first time.
Boshoff knows there’s plenty of competition for the Bok flyhalf position, with the likes of Pollard, Morné Steyn, Johan Goosen and Pat Lambie also vying for the starting spot, but the Lions man is eager to keep putting pressure on his opponents, and national coach Heyneke Meyer.
“They say the ‘easy’ part is getting there and the tough part is staying there. I’m fully aware of that. But that’s the challenge for me going forward. I know I need to play at a consistently high level to keep the selectors interested and for the coach to keep picking me.”
Boshoff, who not that long ago was second choice Lions No10 behind Elton Jantjies, has been his team’s standout performer in the Super Rugby competition, but he says the four weeks he spent with the Boks during the June Test window have been “the biggest learning school” of his life.
“It was unbelievable and amazing. To just train alongside guys who’ve won a World Cup and who’ve played at the highest level was massive for me and the growth of my game. I learnt so much, I really did, and I feel I’m a better player all-round now.
“To spend the time with those guys has given me a tremendous confidence boost. I know now I can make it at the highest level.”
Boshoff says the 70 minutes he spent on the bench, watching the Boks demolish the Scots in Port Elizabeth last weekend, felt like a lifetime. “There were no guarantees from the coach I’d get on, but I was itching to play. I feel so passionate about the Boks and when I heard I’d be making my debut ... I can’t describe the feeling.”
Boshoff will get his first chance to impress as a Springbok player this weekend when the Lions host the Rebels in a Super Rugby match at Ellis Park.
His coach, Johan Ackermann, was full of praise for Boshoff yesterday, but added the Lions could very well produce a few more Boks in the years to come. “The plan from the start was to keep this group together for a few years and by 2016 challenge for a place in the play-offs,” said Ackermann.
“We’ve produced Bossie, who has been great this year, but the likes of Julian Redelinghuys, Schalk van der Merwe, Robbie Coetzee and Warren Whiteley would never let a Bok team down.”
Besides Boshoff, the Lions will field two more Boks on Friday, namely Jantjies, who’ll play off the bench, and lock Franco van der Merwe, who returns to action after a long injury layoff.
Lions: Coenie van Wyk, Deon van Rensburg/Courtnal Skosan, Stokkies Hane-kom, Alwyn Hollenbach, Anthony Vol-mink, Marnitz Boshoff, Ross Cronjé, Warren Whiteley, Warwick Tecklenburg, Jaco Kriel, Franco van der Merwe, Franco Mostert, Julian Redelinghuys, Robbie Coetzee, Schalk van der Merwe. Replacements: Armand van der Merwe, Corné Fourie, Ruan Dreyer, Willie Britz, Derick Minnie, Faf de Klerk, Elton Jantjies, Lionel Mapoe.