JOHANNESBURG - Rohan Janse van Rensburg is desperate to pull on the Springbok jersey again.
It’s been almost a year since the 23-year-old made his debut for the Boks - against Wales last November - but a second Test cap may be in the offing next month when the national team are again in Europe, for four Tests.
Janse van Rensburg though will hope Springbok coach Allister Coetzee looks his way, especially after hitting some good form lately for the Golden Lions in the Currie Cup and questions being asked about the lack of X-factor in the Bok backline.
“I very much want to go on tour. Of course it’s on my mind. It’s what every rugby player dreams of. And after getting a taste of Test rugby a year ago I want more,” said Janse van Rensburg.
“All I can do is keep playing well for the Lions. My first priority is the Currie Cup and hopefully we can win it. The rest will sort itself out.”
It has been a trying, roller-coaster year for Janse van Rensburg. After the high of turning out for the Boks in November he hit top form in the early stages of Super Rugby, but was then rocked by the passing away of his mother in March. And not long after that, in April, he suffered a bad right knee injury, which put him out of the game for several months, including during June when the Boks were in action against France.
Then in May, while at home with friends, he was the victim of a late-night armed robbery, which shook him badly.
The powerfully-built midfielder returned to action in the latter stages of Super Rugby in July and featured in the run-in to the final by the Lions, but he missed out on Bok selection for the Rugby Championship. He said only now is he feeling good again about his game.
“I’m getting there,” Janse van Rensburg said about reaching top form. “It’s been a tough year for me, mainly off the field, a lot has happened, and I’ve had things to sort out.
“But you’re right in saying that I was back to my best last Saturday. I’ve got my hunger back. I want to be the best in the country and last weekend was a small step towards achieving that goal.”
Janse van Rensburg admits hurting his knee in mid-April hit him hard. Before that he was in superb form for the Lions in the Currie Cup.
“I felt I was playing nicely before the injury and losing out for some time afterwards set me back and that was frustrating,” he said. “It took a while for me to get going again when I returned, playing off the bench mainly. Coming back from a knee injury is all about confidence and only in the last few weeks do I again feel strong and confident again. I feel I’m in the kind of position I was when things were going well in Super Rugby, and that feels good.”
The one-Test Bok has switched between inside and outside centre this season and more recently has played at No 13, outside the equally impressive Harold Vorster in the Currie Cup. He said he was pleased to be challenged in more than one position, something that will benefit him in the long run.
“No 12 or 13, or even wing, where I played once last season, if you remember,” Janse van Rensburg said. “It doesn’t matter where I play, I’m happy anywhere. But with Harold playing so nicely I’m enjoying 13 and the good thing is I’ve been challenged and learned to play differently in a new position. I feel I’m pretty coachable and versatile so that will help me down the line.”
With regards to this weekend’s Currie Cup semi-final against Western Province at Newlands, Janse van Rensburg knows a big one is on the cards.
“Flip it, Province at Newlands are tough. There’s a lot of passion in that stadium and they’re always tough at home and there is no doubt we’re going to have to play our best game of the season if we’re to beat them, that’s a fact," Janse van Rensburg said.
“But we’ve hit some form recently and with the youngsters in our team growing in belief every day we’ll have momentum and confidence behind us, too.”