Springbok and Bulls centre Jan Serfontein is proving to be the soul of both the national side and his Super Rugby franchise with his performances of late.
Serfontein played a pivotal role for the Springboks in their three-nil series whitewash against France recently. He continued with his good form by helping guide the Bulls to a win against the Sharks in Durban last Friday.
However, Serfontein doesn’t want to take the credit for himself and instead believes the new environment at the Springboks and now the Bulls have been important in him finding the form that once made him the best junior player in world rugby.
“It was a good team performance against the Sharks. On a personal level I am in good form and it feels as if a lot of things are going right for me. It is about being at the right place at the right time and I’m enjoying it at the moment,” said Serfontein after Bulls training at Loftus Versfeld.
“It’s definitely the change in environment and getting the enjoyment back. It all starts with the team, if the team does better then the individuals will do better and that is what has happened at the Boks and in our game against the Sharks.”
Another contributing factor to Serfontein’s return to form has been the decisions taken by Springbok coach Allister Coetzee and Bulls coach Nollis Marais to play him at his natural position at inside centre instead of out wide into the number 13 jersey.
Serfontein says the move back to number 12 and playing alongside Bulls teammate Jesse Kriel at 13 and an in-form Elton Jantjies at flyhalf has reignited his confidence.
“It is good to be back in my preferred position. It has helped to build a partnership with Jesse and with Elton at the Boks. I started to remember and believe in my own abilities and after a string of good games my confidence also returned, making me believe I can still play at the highest level. It is really nice to be enjoying my rugby again,” added Serfontein.
He says the Bok environment is conducive to players expressing themselves and not fearing to make errors.
“The coaches created an environment for us where we can express ourselves and it was an easy and simple game-plan. It was all about hard work and effort and not so much about making mistakes. All of that put together and the enjoyment with all the guys on the field and playing for the Springboks was a great formula to perform.”
The 24-year-old Serfontein is eager to finish off his time at the Bulls with two more powerful performances before he leaves for France where he has signed to continue his game.
“It was one of my goals this year to leave Loftus on a high note so I will definitely be going out to play very well in the next two games. In the end it is about the team doing well and the better the team does, the better it is for the individuals in the team as well.
“To have a couple of good games in a row definitely helps with self-confidence. If I can build on my performances and the Bulls build on the win against the Sharks then it will look good for us when we face the Kings and Stormers.”
Meanwhile, the Bulls have suffered more injury setbacks with flank Roelof Smit being ruled out for up to two months due to a knee injury in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge quarterfinals .
Flank Renaldo Bothma will miss the remainder of the Super Rugby season after fracturing his forearm against the Sharks, while flyhalf Tony Jantjies is doubtful for this weekend after sustaining a rib injury