De Jongh is a Bok 'must'
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Sport24 chief writer Rob Houwing (File)
Cape Town – Never mind
just select him, Juan de Jongh may well have earned the right to be
pencilled in as first-choice centre for the Springboks’ Vodacom
Tri-Nations Test against New Zealand at Soweto in a fortnight.
he looks the right stuff as a freshening presence for the Boks as they
begin the journey to redemption after a shocking away leg of the
De Jongh could not have chosen a better time to
remind the national brains trust of his potential as he starred in
Western Province’s 50-3 battering of Griquas in their supposed Absa
Currie Cup stronghold of Kimberley on Saturday.
outside centre … it doesn’t really matter. With Wynand Olivier less
than inspiring at No 12 of late and De Jongh’s Newlands-based colleague
Jaque Fourie ruled out of the No 13 jersey through suspension for the
encounter with the All Blacks, the 22-year-old simply must play.
has already shown his comfort in either berth at first-class level,
possessing as he does the defensive relish for the “closer” channel,
plus speed and elusiveness for the wider role.
De Jongh was as
effervescent and purposeful as ever as the log-leaders, now sporting
five wins from five outings, tightened their early grip on the
competition in some style.
They are looking like a clinical
machine at present, well-drilled and sharply motivated throughout their
ranks, and if it was the proverbial game of two halves, to some extent,
then De Jongh showed his prowess in both.
First he tackled and
scrambled like a demon as the street-smart Province absorbed the
initial kitchen-sink bombardment from Griquas – the 12-3 situation in
the visitors’ favour at the interval was all down to penalties – but
then he was one of the architects of WP’s great verve and penetration
in the second half.
Remarkably, considering that the opening try
came as late as the 48th minute, with De Jongh rounding off a move from
a long pass with the necessary thrust and power, Anton van Zyl’s side
then joyously added five more.
The second was a beauty, with
Province sparking the raid from deep in their own territory, and De
Jongh featuring at least twice as the ball switched from one set of
hands to another and an array of angles were run.
Deon Fourie dotted down the crowd-pleasing move from a brilliant
back-flip pass by No 8 Duane Vermeulen, another WP player who is
pressing forcefully for Bok honours as a school of thought grows that
he has a broader all-round game in the vital position than incumbent
It would, of course, be premature and
inappropriate to start suggesting the national side be loaded up with
Province players simply on the strength of their bright start to the
Indeed, anyone in Pretoria would be fully
entitled to point out that they haven’t won any silverware yet and that
the Bulls, instead, are the defending Super 14 and Currie Cup champions.
if some of the Boks’ problems have been down to their fall-away in
discipline and execution of once-trusted basics recently, then a number
of Test “possibles” from down Cape Town way have been benefiting from
the excellent professionalism and savvy injected into the WP side by
the likes of Allister Coetzee, Matthew Proudfoot and Robbie Fleck.
in Kimberley a number of Province players stuck up their hands for
Springbok consideration, including Conrad Jantjes at fullback.
was arguably the game where Jantjes, no stranger to a green-and-gold
jersey, confirmed he has mended both physically and psychologically
from his horror leg-break in the Super 14 last year.
assured on defence and is now restoring dynamism to his game in
attacking situations, something that Zane Kirchner struggled to do for
South Africa in the Tri-Nations overseas leg.
Gio Aplon was
hungry and incisive on the right wing, although he also enters the No
15 picture, you would think, for the Soccer City outing on August 21.
Vermeulen and Francois Louw did no harm to their quests for Bok loose
forward spots, although there was a case for saying the unsung Pieter
Louw was perhaps the best of the three WP men in that department
But De Jongh to be unleashed on the All Blacks? Surely the gutsy little package from Paarl is a certainty now …