Cape Town - Springbok head coach Heyneke
Meyer believes Jesse Kriel has the potential to be the best outside centre
South Africa has ever produced.
Kriel has been a top performer at fullback
for the Bulls during Super Rugby this season, showing great threat with ball in
hand on attack, while his efforts under the high ball and on defence has been
This form was rewarded with an official
call-up to the Springbok squad.
There’s more good news for the 21-year-old
as he was named in the starting line-up for the Springboks’ match against the
World XV at Newlands on Saturday.
The speedster will start at outside centre,
a position he has played before at various levels - from schoolboy to SA Under-20s.
Meyer believes he can be a huge talent in
the No 13 jersey.
“I’ve worked with Jesse before as a junior
and I played a part in him joining the Bulls after school,” Meyer told
“He is a young player with a massive amount
of talent, while he also has the willingness to learn. I’ve decided to run him
at outside centre, where I believe he can add a lot of value.
“He has great speed and his acceleration
off the mark can be a big threat on attack. He has the potential to be the best
outside centre South Africa has ever produced.
“It will be a good challenge for him,
Damian de Allende (inside centre) and Handre Pollard (flyhalf). These three
young players have been in great form during Super Rugby, but they haven’t
played as a combination before.
“I know on attack, they should be able to
make a great impact, but on defence, they will need to focus and put in a big
effort, especially against an experienced and exciting World XV game.”
Meyer added that Kriel can still add value
as a fullback and wing.
“Jesse offers some versatility. He can
still play a role at fullback. I’m thinking of giving him some time in the
position towards the end of the match against the World XV. We will see if the
opportunity arises. I also believe he can add value at wing,” said Meyer.
In an interview earlier this year, Kriel
said he would play in any position needed.
“I do enjoy fullback and I’d say it’s my
preferred position. I enjoy the space one gets. But I also enjoy my time at
centre. I love making a contribution on attack and having more time with ball
in hand. I’ll play wherever the team needs me to play,” said Kriel.
Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende,
11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7
Marcell Coetzee, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Eben
Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Vincent
Koch, 19 Oupa Mohoje, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie,
23 Jean de Villiers
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