Kriel: I want to be the best
Ockert de Villiers - Sport24
Johannesburg - Following a stellar
breakthrough Super Rugby campaign, Bulls sensation Jesse Kriel is determined to
become one of the best players in the world.
Kriel has been a revelation in the last
line of defence during the Bulls’ rather erratic season with his defence-splitting
runs from deep.
“I set my goals last year and where I am
now is where I planned to be, so I was waiting for that opportunity and I think
I’ve achieved my goals so far,” Kriel said at a Powerade launch in Johannesburg
“It just comes down to working hard and I
am not afraid to work hard, I really enjoy training and I want to become the
best in the world.
“I am at a union that allows me to express
myself, I want to go to greater heights and I want to become a Springbok and
win a World Cup.”
Kriel, who is equally adept at outside
centre and wing, said he was prepared to play in any position if it meant he
would go to the global showpiece.
His exploits this season had been aided by
the successful back-three combination he formed with Francois Hougaard and
Bjorn Basson with the trio forming the Bulls’ most dangerous attacking units.
And while Kriel has performed with regular
aplomb this season, he acknowledged former Bulls coach Frans Ludeke for showing
faith in him and giving him the initial break.
“Super Rugby is the hardest competition in
the world I think, I got my opportunity early in the season, and I was really
lucky when Frans gave me that opportunity,” Kriel said.
“It was always his plan to give me that
opportunity and when I got it I really enjoyed it. I’m enjoying my rugby and I
am having a lot of fun.
"I think I had a decent season and I
learnt a lot, I think that is the most important thing and I think I’ve gained
a bit of experience.”
Now that Kriel has graduated from Super
Rugby with distinction he believes he is well equipped for the rigours of
“I am going to go in there with a
willingness to learn from guys like Bryan Habana, Willie le Roux and the guys
that have played in a 100 Tests and I want to surround myself with the best
because that is how you learn,” Kriel said.
“I want to learn from the best and those are
best and I think it will be a great opportunity and I will take the same
approach as in any game and do whatever I can to make the team better.”
Although Kriel has made an early impression
he admits that he has not yet arrived on the international stage.
His appetite for knowledge was highlighted
on Tuesday when he picked former All Blacks and Lions coach John Mitchell’s
brains about attacking play.
“I chatted to him (Mitchell) about his
whole outlook on attack and stuff like that and how he sees space, I find that
really interesting as I really like to attack,” he said.
“It is always great to hear about how
different coaches see different things and he is obviously a really good coach
and I just like to learn.”
The Springboks will next week assemble in Johannesburg
for a training camp before a squad of 40 players will be announced over the
weekend ahead of the Rugby Championship.