Cobus Reinach of South Africa A in action against the British and Irish Lions. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Cobus Reinach of South Africa A in action against the British and Irish Lions. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Cobus Reinach is ‘feeling confident’ in push for Springbok spot

By Ashfak Mohamed Time of article published Jul 19, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - Cobus Reinach made his Springbok debut in 2014 but has just 15 Test caps to his name.

That is a bit of an injustice to a man as talented as the former Sharks scrumhalf, who now plays his club rugby for Montpellier in France, after a lengthy stint at Northampton Saints in England.

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He missed out on selection for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, with Rudy Paige getting the nod as the third No 9 behind Fourie du Preez and Ruan Pienaar.

It looked like he was going to be overlooked for the 2019 edition as well, with Faf de Klerk and Herschel Jantjies having emerged.

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But he was brought into the Bok mix by coach Rassie Erasmus that year, and made it count as he scored the fastest hat-trick in World Cup history against Canada – in just 20 minutes.

De Klerk and Jantjies were the scrumhalves in the important World Cup games, but now Reinach is pushing hard for a spot in the match-23 for Saturday’s first Test against the British & Irish Lions at Cape Town Stadium (6pm kick-off).

De Klerk is probably still the favourite to start, but Jantjies has not been at his sharpest this season. He had Covid-19 recently and didn’t get much action for South Africa ’A’ against the Lions last week either, with Nienaber having been concerned about his lack of game time recently.

Now 31, Reinach is still going strong, and he was in good nick for SA ’A’ against the Bulls at the weekend.

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He provided a slick service from the breakdowns, used his boot to good effect, and created the opening try for Aphelele Fassi with a lovely break.

“I think we are all feeling good and all getting a bit of game time. Even though the result didn’t go our way (for SA ’A’), there were a lot of opportunities, and there was small stuff we did individually that was good.

“Collectively, we didn’t put our stamp down, but we can go and look at it and get aligned. I think everyone’s feeling good – I’m feeling good and confident, and looking forward (to the series).

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“We know what we should do and where we should do it on the field. I don’t think it’s so much about bringing something different, but just executing what we need to do 100% or to a platinum standard.

“I don’t think anyone competing with anyone in the squad is trying something or trying to put a stamp on it, because then you are going out of the alignment we have as a squad.

“So, it’s a long year, a big competition – everyone just needs to do their job, and make sure you do it perfectly.”

@AshfakMohamed

IOL Sport

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