CAPE TOWN – Seabelo Senatla is on fire at the moment.
Okay, that’s no revelation, but his performance against the Highlanders was.
It showed the kind of contribution the speedster can make when he gets the chance. And it showed what he can do for the Stormers with good time on the ball. In their 34-22 victory against the Highlanders, Senatla constantly threatened the Kiwis’ defence, while he also delivered the pass to scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies that put him away to score one of the Cape side’s four tries
He hasn’t always looked that way with the Stormers, though.
He has struggled with injury over the last few years, something which he himself admitted could be put down to him alternating between the Stormers and Sevens commitments. But following groin surgery last year, he got some rest before his pre-season with the Stormers kicked off. And after injuries to Sergeal Petersen and SP Marais (who has appeared on the wing as well), Senatla has enjoyed a bit of game time.
He played in the Stormers’ last two matches against the Crusaders and Highlanders, and another start against the Lions at Ellis Park looks likely.
“Coach (Robbie) Fleck communicated with me quite early on that I will have to bide my time. So I got five minutes here, 10 minutes there,” Senatla said.
“I got frustrated, but I knew it was a process. I have to keep working hard and be ready when the opportunity comes. Unfortunately Sergeal got injured, which is not what I wanted. But that’s rugby. Now I’m literally just trying to play my game.”
Senatla, who decided to concentrate on fifteens last year, also added that a Springbok call-up is present in his mind.
“The talent is booming right now, all the players are lifting their game. There is a lot of competition, and naturally once that happens, whoever is going to play for the Springboks will be strong because of the competition,” he said.
“When someone is challenging heavy, people are going to lift their games, because we all want to wear that Bok jersey right now.”
Senatla won a bronze medal with the Blitzboks at the Rio Olympics in 2016, and now the flyer, who has scored 224 tries on the World Series circuit (overtaking Fabian Juries’ record), says he wants to represent the Blitzboks at the Tokyo Games next year.
“There has been a lot of chat, but nothing is finalised. The Sevens guys are keen to use me, and the Stormers want to keep me here. I think, at this point, it’s still going to happen (a return to Sevens),” Senatla said.
He also explained how Sevens contributes to his overall balling skills. “It really does help me (the Sevens). I want to play 15s, but also play Sevens because it does help to sharpen my skills,” Senatla said.@WynonaLouw