Johannesburg - It was possibly the worst kept secret for the Springbok management that has, by implication, been confirmed. Jan Serfontein is a big part of Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s plans for the Castle Incoming Tours series.
According to the supersport.com website, the withdrawal of Serfontein – the 2012 IRB World Junior Player of the year – from the SA under-20 squad which leaves on Thursday for France to defend their IRB Junior World Championship crown is a telling indication that Serfontein will not only be part of Meyer’s plans for the June test series, but could possibly be in the mix against Italy in Durban alongside captain Jean de Villiers as well.
The 20-year old Vodacom Bulls sensation, who has secured the starting spot in his franchise’s team for much of the season and has been a major part of their success this year, is seen as a future Bok and with the Rugby World Cup just two years away, Meyer is keen to blood him at international level as soon as possible.
Serfontein is definitely a special player, and the soft-spoken midfielder is definitely aware of the challenges ahead of him.
Yet as far as the Bulls management had known, the plans for him was to go on the November tour with the national side, and they were instructed to give him up to attend all the camps for the SA under-20 preparations.
Still, his progress has been faster than most have expected and this week in Durban a call had to be made.
The Press Release from SA Rugby was vague enough not to give any details on Meyer’s plans, but his withdrawal from the under-20s makes it clear there are higher plans for him.
The Boks face Italy and Scotland in their opening two tests, and then the best team out of Italy, Scotland and Samoa at Loftus in their final game, giving Meyer the ideal opportunity to blood Serfontein before the Castle Rugby Championship comes along.
But Serfontein isn’t the only one vying for a spot, with Cheetahs midfielder Robert Ebersohn also wanting a chance to start at 12, while Meyer always has the option of leaving captain Jean de Villiers there and playing a different outside centre alongside him.
It isn’t surprising that Serfontein is seen in such a high capacity, and nor so that Heyneke Meyer and his management team have been watching him for a long time.
It is an open secret that he was identified by the Bulls – then under High-performance manager Ian Schwartz, now Meyer’s team manager – when he was in Grade 9 at Grey High School in Port Elizabeth, long before he left for Grey College in Bloemfontein and made a name for himself on the schools scene.
Serfontein has continued his rise from those schooldays, to the SA Schools and SA under-20 side, where he was undoubtedly the star. Now as a starring player in the Bulls Super Rugby side it is only natural for his progression to head towards Green and Gold and if he continues his promise and fulfils his potential, Meyer may well have found his 12 for the World Cup.