Pick Stedman Gans at 13 for the Springboks, says Cornal Hendricks
CAPE TOWN - Stedman Gans was the top try-scorer in Super Rugby Unlocked and has added some serious razzle-dazzle to the Bulls backline. And now his centre partner believes he is ready for Test rugby.
“I will tell them to pick Stedman Gans on 13! He is currently the on-form 13,” Cornal Hendricks said on Monday about his mate, who dotted down five times in six games for the champions, about what message he would have for the Springbok bosses Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber.
Gans has been sensational for Jake White’s team since leaving the sevens scene, where he was the Blitzbok captain before joining the Bulls during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The 23-year-old, who hails from Vredenburg on the Cape West Coast and was recruited by the Bulls management to attend Hoërskool Waterkloof in Pretoria, played junior rugby from 2013 to 2015 at Loftus Versfeld, but has had to wait for his chance to command a starting spot in the 15-man arena.
And now he has done that over the last few months, Hendricks – himself a 12-Test Bok – feels Gans is primed for the big time.
Lukhanyo Am is the undoubted first-choice Bok outside centre. He hasn’t quite been able to get going after the Covid-19 break after excelling for the Sharks in Super Rugby earlier this year, and a hand injury has sidelined him for four weeks.
But his skill-set could make him an even better No 12 than he is a No 13, where Gans’ pace and stepping ability would be a handful for the opposition.
When Hendricks was asked if the midfield pair were the ‘Yin and the Yang’ to each other at the Bulls, Gans appeared on the screen and stated “100 percent!”.
“He is the main man in the movie! I just do the dirty work, and he goes and scores all the tries,” Hendricks said ahead of Saturday’s Currie Cup opener against Western Province at Newlands (7pm kickoff).
“Stedman and I have a good relationship, on and off the field. He is very excited, and everyone knows he is a superstar and world-class sevens player. Now he has made his mark in the 15-man code, because the one thing you don’t want people to do is to label you as a sevens player.
“He has found his feet well, and there is a good chemistry between us – ‘bromance’ – and I still learn from him. I think we learn from each other every single day, and we are trying to improve the combination for the rest of the competition. We also want to try other combinations, but things are going well between me and him.
“I think they (Bok coaches) must just check out the youngsters coming through in our backline – Stedman, Kurt-Lee (Arendse) and obviously David Kriel, exciting guys coming through. Travis Ismaiel as well is playing very good rugby at the moment.”