’My great grandfather played for the Lions’: Jesse Kriel says tour will be a ’personal one’
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CAPE TOWN - Being involved in the Springbok set-up in any capacity against the British & Irish Lions must be a huge honour, and for Jesse Kriel, this Series is going to be even more special.
The 27-year-old was named in the 46-man Springbok squad and will follow his great-grandfather's footsteps when he takes part in one of rugby's greatest traditions next month.
The midfielder's great-grandfather was loose forward John Hodgson, who made 15 appearances for the Lions and represented England seven times between 1932 and 1936.
Hodgson was a member of the 1930 Tour to Australia and New Zealand, playing two Test matches against the All Blacks 90 years ago.
During a virtual press conference earlier this week, Kriel said his great-grandfather's rugby history adds to the already-great experience for him.
“My great grandfather played for the Lions, so this is quite a personal one for me and it's special to be involved,” said Kriel.
“Going back to 2009, I was still at school and I obviously have some great memories of that Jacques Fourie try and Morné Steyn kicking that penalty over.
“So, it is very special, and as Jacques (Nienaber; Springbok coach) mentioned, this opportunity probably comes around once in a player's career, so I think everyone is going to try to make the most of the chance.”
Late last year, Kriel shared that his great grandfather's cap - he was Lion No 265 - had been sent to his family by the Lions.
During the press conference he went on to add how different the logistics around the tour was back when his great-grandfather played and how special those memories are to him and his family.
“They went to New Zealand on their tour and they were on a boat for a couple of months to get there and had to write letters to the family,” he said.
“These days we get on a plane and we are back in South Africa the next day.
So, those stories are quite cool and some of the memories that I kind of enjoyed looking back. It means a lot to me and my family and it will be really special.”