Johannesburg - Springbok centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg says he gained a lot during his time with the national team on their year-end European tour.
Janse van Rensburg was one of the standout South African players during Super Rugby and the Currie Cup this season, showing great form on attack and defence, he played a big role in the midfield during the Lions’ charge to their first-ever Super Rugby final appearance.
His impressive form earned him a Springbok call-up for the national side’s tour match against the Barbarians in London. After a good performance against the famous club, which included a try at the death to salvage a 31-31 draw, head coach Allister Coetzee decided to retain the 22-year-old in the squad for the Tests against England, Italy and Wales as utility back Jesse Kriel returned to South Africa with a leg injury.
Although South Africa had a disappointing run of three straight defeats against all three European nations, Janse van Rensburg said there were positives to draw from the experience.
“From a team perspective, it was a very disappointing tour for all of us. However, getting the opportunity to experience the Springbok culture, especially during these tough times, gave me a lot of insight to why this team is so special,” Janse van Rensburg told MyPlayers.
“The players really pulled through together. There is still a collective belief that we will improve and become one of the most feared teams in world rugby again.
“Getting the opportunity to spend time alongside guys like Bryan Habana and JP Pietersen was great. Not only learning from them during training, but to hear how important the Springboks are to them inspires me. It’s amazing how the more experienced guys love this team and always want to give it their all.”
Janse van Rensburg added that he really enjoyed the rugby culture in Europe.
“After every game, it was amazing to see how the players bonded behind the scenes. Although we’re opponents on the field, the players would come together and have a good chat. No matter what happens during the game, there’s a lot of mutual respect among rugby players,” said Janse van Rensburg.
“It was also amazing to see how the Welsh fans backed their team. Wales have also experienced disappointing results, but their fans still showed up for the game against us last weekend. Over 57 000 people packed into the stadium to support their team, which created a great atmosphere. I could see the Welsh players drew a lot from that support.”
Off the field, Janse van Rensburg also enjoyed exploring foreign environments.
“It was great touring England, Italy and Wales. London was definitely my favourite city and the highlight of the tour,” he said.
“You always hear how busy it is, but to actually experience London and all the tourist hotspots was really nice.”
Looking ahead to 2017, Janse van Rensburg is aiming to make a bigger impact as he wants to make the most of future opportunities.
“It’s great to be back home. I get the week off before returning to training at the Lions,” said Janse van Rensburg. “It’s important to have a break. I just want to refresh my body and mind before returning to the grind.
“I want to continue improving and work even harder to be a better player. There are a few areas of my game that I want to work on, so I’m really excited to do what I can during the pre-season training schedule ahead of an exciting 2017 campaign.”
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