Kriel coping well with pressure

2015-11-26 10:00
Jesse Kriel on the charge against New Zealand (Gallo Images)

Pretoria - Springbok and Bulls centre Jesse Kriel has explained how he handles the pressures on and off the field at a young age.

This season, a number of young players have made their mark at various levels in the South African game. One of the standout performers has been Kriel, whose impressive form has seen him establish himself in the Springbok squad.

It was just over a year ago when the Maritzburg College old boy was dazzling for the Junior Springboks at the 2014 Under-20 World Championship in New Zealand.

After delivering outstanding performances for the Bulls during the 2015 Super Rugby campaign, Kriel earned his first Springbok call-up ahead of this year’s Rugby Championship.

He’s made the most of the opportunity, working his way into the national side as a regular starter at outside centre. With the ability to play wing and fullback, he offers South Africa plenty of versatility in the backline.

Kriel credits the support from those around him for his successful step-up this year.

“I’m very blessed to have a strong support base around me,” Kriel told “I share a house with my twin brother Dan, and good friend and team-mate Handre Pollard. This helps a lot because they can relate to the situations I find myself in and I can turn to them whenever I need advice. We also spend a lot of time together off the field, especially when we want some space away from rugby.

“My family and friends have offered amazing support over the years. I have also received a lot of help from my coaches and team-mates at the Bulls and Springboks, especially from the players who have lots of experience. Guys like Victor Matfield, Jean de Villiers, Fourie du Preez and Bryan Habana have offered great mentorship.”

It isn’t easy for young players to cope with the pressures of Test rugby, let alone Super Rugby. So what advice does Kriel have for other young players advancing to senior levels?

“I take in as much as I can from every match and every training session,” says Kriel. “These occasions always offer a new lesson.

“As a young player, you need to know what your role is and how to do it well. That’s why it’s important to take in all the information from your coaches and more experienced players.

“I also enjoyed touring with the Springboks this year and learning about other countries and cultures. Experiencing Australia and Argentina was great, and playing in England during the Rugby World Cup was a big highlight.”

Looking ahead, Kriel explains he has plenty he wants to achieve on and off the field.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time in the Springbok environment. I hope to continue playing well for the team and make a valuable contribution wherever and whenever possible. I also want to make a big impact for the Bulls in future tournaments,” said Kriel.

“I also have plans to prepare for life after rugby. I want to study and get something behind my name. Economics and marketing interest me a lot. I also have my eye on a few business opportunities, which could serve me well in the long-term future.”

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Read more on:    bulls  |  springboks  |  jesse kriel  |  rugby


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