‘I feel 21 in the legs and 21 in the head ...’ Cobus Reinach shows no signs of slowing down for Springboks

Cobus Reinach showed against Romania he is still in good shape for the Springboks. Photo: Stephane Mahe/Reuters

Cobus Reinach showed against Romania he is still in good shape for the Springboks. Photo: Stephane Mahe/Reuters

Published Sep 19, 2023


The bad news for defences is that Springbok try-machine Cobus Reinach is feeling no ageing in his 33-year-old legs – not that anybody who saw him play against Romania on Sunday needs confirmation of that.

Reinach scored a first-half hattrick in the Boks’ 76-0 destruction of Romania in what was close to a perfect repletion of the hat-trick he scored within 22 minutes in the 2019 World Cup defeat of Canada.

He didn’t quite beat his record from that Canadian clash for the fastest hat-trick in international rugby, but he wasn’t far off.

Reinach is very much a chip off the old block in that his father, Springbok wing Jaco Reinach, was the South African 400m champion in the mid-1980s and he scored some scintillating tries against the New Zealand Cavaliers in the rebel 1986 series.

Reinach says he feels younger than ever.

“I don’t think I’ve changed much since the last World Cup – except I’ve got a bit more experience. I feel 21 in the legs and 21 in the head, so I just want to keep on going and keep on playing as best as I can.”

Reinach said his forwards gave him the foundation for his heroics.

“We came in to be dominant in all aspects and I think that’s what the forwards did – they give me good platforms to play off and I was lucky enough to score off it.”

Reinach is one of those team men who always has a mischievous smile on his face and said that the win would be celebrated – but all feet will be kept on the ground.

“We always have to have a bit of music going in our change room ... It’s part of our culture. But we’ll keep the celebrations to a minimum, as it’s a six-day turnaround before the next match.”

Of course, the big one is on Saturday night (kick-off 9pm) when the Boks and Ireland face off in a game that could be the final at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris.

“It is a huge game but we don’t change how we prepare for games if it’s Romania or Ireland or New Zealand. We have to go and look at what we did wrong and where we can improve.

“We’ll hit the training ground running, focus on how we can get better and then put it on the pitch on game-day.”

Reinach’s fine performance is unlikely to leapfrog him into the starting line-up for the Ireland game.

Faf de Klerk is sure to be in the No 9 jersey and said that last week he was goading Reinach to repeat his feat against Canada four years ago.

De Klerk said: “I teed up Cobus all week to say he must break his record but I think he missed it by a couple of minutes.

“But most of it came off some great set-piece pressure from the big boys. The boys did their job up front and some good skills from the backs to get it to him and some great finishing.”