Rugby World Cup 2011

No love lost in 'derby'

2011-09-20 14:09
Juan de Jongh (Getty Images)

Cape Town - A few familiar faces will be found, but no love will be lost when the Springboks take on geographical neighbours Namibia in their third Pool D clash on Thursday.

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The close proximity between the two nations may only be limited to their respective GPS co-ordinates, because the gulf in rugby class is clearly evident, the Springboks – two time RWC champions, Namibia – yet to win a single RWC match.

However, there is a connection of another sort that draws these two teams together, with many of Namibia’s squad playing for various unions in South Africa.

Flank, Jacques Burger was contracted Griquas and the Blue Bulls before moving to Saracens.

Wing, Danie Dames had stints at the Sharks and Leopards, while Raul Larson is a product of Grey College. Nico Esterhuyse, Hugo Horn and Piet van Zyl were all involved in Boland rugby at some stage.

Loose-forward, Rohan Kitshoff can still be found at Western Province after the RWC, where  many of the current Springboks can be found, including Juan de Jongh.

De Jongh also has another close friend in the Namibian ranks, wing, Llewellyn Winkler played for the Maties during de Jongh’s time there during 2008 and 2010.

“Llewellyn is a friend of mine from Stellenbosch and Rohan and I have trained together at WP already. It will be very nice to be able to play against them. We will be friends again after the game,” De Jongh told Tuesday’s Die Burger.

The Springbok backline squad is one abound with versatility as De Jongh has found himself playing at wing at times this season, but reveals that inside centre was not always his favourite position.

“In the earlier years I always played at outside centre, but the more I play at inside centre, the more I enjoy it. It’s all about making the best out of a situation, depending on where I get selected.”

Although he finds himself on the bench once again, De Jongh says that he will always be ready if he is called upon.

“If you get the opportunity, then you must be ready to grab it. We all prepare for the game as if we going to play. I am even grateful if I only get a few minutes to play, because many players have never had the opportunity to play in the RWC.”

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