Kriel eager for Twickenham return

2015-10-20 21:43
Jesse Kriel (Gallo Images)

Guildford - Jesse Kriel cannot wait for his second taste of the Twickenham big time when South Africa face New Zealand in a World Cup semi-final on Saturday.

Last weekend's 23-19 quarter-final win over Wales, in front of a crowd of nearly 80 000 was the 21-year-old Springbok centre's first match at English rugby union's headquarters.

"I think I still have to pinch myself for the fact that I am here," Kriel, who only made his Test debut in July, told reporters at South Africa's hotel in Guildford, southwest of London.

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"It's going to be another great experience. Last weekend was my first game at Twickenham and the atmosphere was awesome. I really enjoyed it," added the Blue Bulls midfielder who has just nine caps.

But talk of his inexperience cut no ice with the self-assured Kriel, one of the rising stars of the world game.

"I think everyone says inexperience, this and that, but the only way you can gain experience is by playing. I'm just going to go out there this week and give it my best," he said.

But unlike many a more seasoned player, Kriel has already scored a try against New Zealand, albeit during a 27-20 defeat by the All Blacks in Johannesburg in just his second Test.

"Obviously it's something that I really enjoyed and it's one of the highlights of my career so far. Hopefully it can replay this week in the semi-final."

For much of rugby union's history, South Africa and reigning world champions New Zealand have been the sport's two pre-eminent teams.

But their record is rather more one-sided in recent times, with the All Blacks having won seven out of nine meetings with the Springboks during the past four years.

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