Vodacom Super 14

Johnson full of S14 confidence

2010-03-25 22:54
Ashley Johnson (Gallo Images)
Jóhann Thormählen

Bloemfontein – Springbok No 8 Ashley Johnson is out to make the most of his second wind in the Super 14 when he runs on the field with renewed confidence for the Cheetahs against the Reds on Friday.

Johnson has to fill in for injured No 8 Frans Viljoen (cheekbone) and is determined to show that he can compete at Super 14 level.

Johnson started the competition in the starting line-up, but Viljoen lifted him from the side with good play and he was demoted to the Vodacom Cup.

He has subsequently worked hard at his game and his performance against the Reds will be important for his Springbok aspirations.

“It definitely boosted my confidence to play in the Vodacom Cup – just to prove to myself that I can still do it,” he said.

Johnson became a Springbok for good reason, but admits his form was not great at the start of the Super 14.

“It’s nice to be able to play Super 14 again. I probably struggled a little mentally at the start of the competition because it was the Super 14. The Currie Cup is very different. When I got a chance in the Currie Cup last year I had already played in it before and I was already used to it.

“However, I had not played any Super 14 rugby prior to this year, so maybe things will go better now. I want to use the opportunity.”

Johnson said that there is a big difference between the competitions.

“In the Currie Cup you are not necessarily punished for your mistakes as you are in the Super 14. If you just move out of line by five metres and miss a tackle, it will be seven points against you. That will not necessarily happen in the Currie Cup. I will have to work at the little things that can make a big difference to the team.”

Johnson said he had to work on defence to be able to make more “offensive” hits, and to be able to stick to the system and understand it.

“I also have to play more with the ball in hand from the back. It was one of my strengths in the Currie Cup that I have not been able to get going in the Super 14 yet. I started getting it right in the Vodacom Cup again,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jongi Nokwe has withdrawn due to a knee injury and will be replaced by Bjorn Basson.


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