Cape Town - There are few who don’t believe that Bulls fullback Jesse Kriel is ready to make the step up to international rugby, and that may happen as early as this Saturday when the Springboks take on the World XV at Newlands in Cape Town.
But where exactly Bok coach Heyneke Meyer decides to use the 21-year-old, if he does at all, is another matter entirely.
Kriel won over the rugby public at fullback for the Bulls this season, but he spent time running at outside centre in Tuesday's Cape Town Stadium training session.
Bok assistant coach Johan van Graan would not confirm where Kriel would be used by the Boks, but he did make reference to the experience he has had at outside centre in the past.
"He’s played for South Africa U20 (at) 13 and I think he’s had a fantastic season at 15 for the Bulls," said Van Graan.
"So he’s a very exciting prospect and if he gets selected I can’t wait to see what he does at international level and I think he can become a world class player."
Van Graan had nothing but praise for one of the few shining lights to emerge from what was a disappointing Bulls campaign in Super Rugby.
"I think Jesse Kriel is a special player. I’ve watched him since he was a schoolboy - very explosive, unbelievable speed and his decision making is brilliant," Van Graan said.
"He’s one of the fittest guys in the team and he’s got an unbelievable work ethic. He’s got this unbelievable hunger for the game. He wants to learn every single day."
The Boks will announce their side for Saturday’s 17:00 kick-off on Wednesday.