Pretoria - Springbok and Bulls centre Jesse Kriel has explained
how he handles the pressures on and off the field at a young age.
This season, a number of young players have made their mark
at various levels in the South African game. One of the standout performers has
been Kriel, whose impressive form has seen him establish himself in the
It was just over a year ago when the Maritzburg College old
boy was dazzling for the Junior Springboks at the 2014 Under-20 World Championship
in New Zealand.
After delivering outstanding performances for the Bulls
during the 2015 Super Rugby campaign, Kriel earned his first Springbok call-up
ahead of this year’s Rugby Championship.
He’s made the most of the opportunity, working his way into
the national side as a regular starter at outside centre. With the ability to
play wing and fullback, he offers South Africa plenty of versatility in the
Kriel credits the support from those around him for his
successful step-up this year.
“I’m very blessed to have a strong support base around me,”
Kriel told MyPlayers.co.za. “I share a house with my twin brother Dan, and good
friend and team-mate Handre Pollard. This helps a lot because they can relate
to the situations I find myself in and I can turn to them whenever I need
advice. We also spend a lot of time together off the field, especially when we
want some space away from rugby.
“My family and friends have offered amazing support over the
years. I have also received a lot of help from my coaches and team-mates at the
Bulls and Springboks, especially from the players who have lots of experience.
Guys like Victor Matfield, Jean de Villiers, Fourie du Preez and Bryan Habana
have offered great mentorship.”
It isn’t easy for young players to cope with the pressures
of Test rugby, let alone Super Rugby. So what advice does Kriel have for other
young players advancing to senior levels?
“I take in as much as I can from every match and every
training session,” says Kriel. “These occasions always offer a new lesson.
“As a young player, you need to know what your role is and
how to do it well. That’s why it’s important to take in all the information
from your coaches and more experienced players.
“I also enjoyed touring with the Springboks this year and
learning about other countries and cultures. Experiencing Australia and
Argentina was great, and playing in England during the Rugby World Cup was a
Looking ahead, Kriel explains he has plenty he wants to
achieve on and off the field.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time in the Springbok environment. I
hope to continue playing well for the team and make a valuable contribution
wherever and whenever possible. I also want to make a big impact for the Bulls
in future tournaments,” said Kriel.
“I also have plans to prepare for life after rugby. I want
to study and get something behind my name. Economics and marketing interest me
a lot. I also have my eye on a few business opportunities, which could serve me
well in the long-term future.”
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