Cape Town - Francois Kleinhans was a member of the Under-20 side that did battle at the 2011 Junior World Championships in Italy.
But where the likes of Nizaam Carr and Eben Etzebeth emerged from that side as future superstars, Kleinhans has had to be more patient.
Schooled at Glenwood in Durban, the loose forward has been a part of the Sharks set-up at Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup level since 2011.
He is finding some form this season and people are beginning to take notice.
And now the 24-year-old is looking to use the momentum he has gained to prove that he has what it takes to be a long term option in this Sharks side.
“Every player every weekend wants to go out and stamp his name and go out and prove themselves,” Kleinhans said from Durban this week.
“My first role is to play the game and do what the coaches expect from me - to give energy to the pack and be the energy on the field when the guys are down.”
The Sharks host Western Province on Saturday and Kleinhans believes that playing against a loose trio that could include Carr or Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Rynhardt Elstadt and Chris Cloete, will be good for his development.
“They are good loose forwards. They’ve got a lot of experience between them. It’s a great challenge for me and that’s only going to make me better if I play against players like them,” said Kleinhans.