Jordan Hendrikse has some questions for Springboks World Cup hero Handre Pollard

Jordan Hendrikse of the Sigma Lions tackled by Johan du Toit and Deon Fourie of the Western Province when playing the Carling Currie Cup at Newlands Stadium

File. With an invitation to a Springbok alignment camp next month, Jordan Hendrikse (pictured) wants to understand how the Leicester Tigers flyhalf Handre Pollard manages such monumental stress. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Feb 25, 2024


When Jordan Hendrikse gets the opportunity to ask two-time Rugby World Cup winner Handre Pollard about his Springbok journey, it will be a question of pressure.

Pollard, ice coursing through his veins, was instrumental as the Boks defended the Webb Ellis Trophy last year in France, stepping up to the tee in the knockout stages during moments that had the nation collapsing into prayer.

With an invitation to a Bok alignment camp next month, Hendrikse wants to understand how the Leicester Tigers flyhalf manages such monumental stress.

“I would start,” the Lions No 10 pondered last week, during training at Hoërskool Florida, “by asking what are the toughest lessons he has learnt?

Big lessons

“Every person has those big lessons in this game and that might be overcoming pressure in terms of a final kick and how he handles that, because he has been doing it well for the Boks.”

The 22-year-old’s inclusion in the alignment camp, while not wholly unexpected, remains surprising as the young flyhalf finds his role much-changed this season. It has been, for some months now, one of impact coming off the bench as he deputises for Sanele Nohamba at 10.

His game time has been limited in that respect. Perhaps a lack of confidence and match fitness at the start of the last season saw him starting off tentatively, while a serious injury might have mentally stunted his return to action after a prolonged lay-off.

That, however, seems to be consigned to the past and his inclusion in the plans of Bok coach Rassie Erasmus were only a matter of time.

Hendrikse has steadily returned to some sort of form over the past few matches, too. During the Lions’ most recent loss to the Bulls, when he came on as a replacement in the 59th minute, there were flashes of his talent.]

Attacking impetus

Indeed, it could be argued that his 20-minute cameo afforded the Lions a bit more structure and attacking impetus, which had been flailing up until then, in a losing cause. Although his ambitions are beyond his current role, Hendrikse understands with maturity beyond his years that sometimes one must pay one’s dues first.

“It is a lot different from starting,” he explained. “You need to be a diverse player in terms of playing the role of impact player ... Whether the team needs me to play centre, flyhalf, or fullback, I am here to serve the team. I am a dynamic player that can play anywhere.”

With his immediate future at the Joburgers uncertain – rumours insist quite convincingly that the former Glenwood High alumnus has signed with the Sharks – and exciting times ahead with national interest, Hendrikse could be forgiven for taking his concentration off of what is required from him at present.

The Lions must beat the Sharks this coming weekend in the United Rugby Championship at Ellis Park to set their campaign back on track. They find themselves in a disappointing 11th place in the standings, five points down on a play-off spot.