Rugby Championship

Serfontein itching for ball

2014-09-23 14:10
Jan Serfontein (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Springbok centre Jan Serfontein says he is itching to see more of the ball when South Africa welcome Australia to Newlands, in Cape Town, on Saturday.

"In our structure the number 12 (inside centre) sees a lot more of the ball but sometimes he puts (kicks) the ball up," Serfontein said ahead of this weekend's Rugby Championship Test.

"At 13 there is not as much ball coming so it has taken some adaptation as I like to get the ball in my hands. It can be a bit frustrating.

"On defence 13 is just one channel wider and in general play we switch around quite a bit and on the whole I think I have adapted quite well. I'm starting to enjoy it."

The Boks have yet to unleash the full might of Serfontein's attacking prowess, which two years ago earned him the 2012 IRB Junior Player of the Year award, following several stellar performances at inside centre for the Junior Boks.

A ferocious tackler against New Zealand in Wellington recently, Serfontein's defensive attributes will come as a welcome boost for coach Heyneke Meyer.

"I got a knock to my head during the game so I don't remember much about the match, but it was close. We had some good momentum at the end."

Serfontein was full of praise for his midfield partner, captain Jean de Villiers.

"Playing with Jean makes it easier for me. The fact that he has played 100 Tests and had that experience means I can learn from him. He tends to make the right decisions more often than not and he's a great communicator."

Springbok defence coach John McFarland said Serfontein was becoming a stalwart in the side's defence.

"After Test matches, we have a prize (sunglasses) for the player who made the most tackles, and Jan has won a few," McFarland said.

"One also has to look at the quality of the centres we have played against in the last eight games. They are among the best so Jan has done really well.

"The quality of his tackling is impressive and against New Zealand he made 24 in the game and against Australia it was 21. In both matches he made the most."

Serfontein also sang the praises of Handre Pollard, the rookie Bok flyhalf.

"Pollard has really stepped up well in the international arena. He was great under pressure. He's a perfect number 10 and on attack he likes to take the gap."

The Boks would be working on defensive tactics on Tuesday and Serfontein felt that the Wallabies' playing style gave the South Africans options in defence.

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