Hendrikse zones in on Bok No 10 jersey

The Vodacom United Rugby Championship in the next month will be Jordan Hendrikse’s springboard to the Springboks. Don’t be against Emirates Lions No 10 Hendrikse combining with his elder brother Jaden as the Springboks halfback pairing before the end of the year. Jordan, just 21 years old, is on the national radar and his ascent to a Test start up north in November could be expedited because of the current flyhalf injury crisis in South Africa. The younger Hendrikse has always listed making the Springboks Test squad as a long-term goal but when it comes to both Hendrikse brothers, the long-term goals seem to be realised very quickly. Jaden, who plays scrumhalf for the Cell C Sharks in the URC, established himself as the starting Bok No 9 during the back-end of this season’s Rugby Championship. Only one year separates the siblings, but already both have had to beat injury adversity in professional careers that are still in their infancy. Both have spoken about the mental strains of fighting back from injury in the past 12 months, but they consistently echo positivity about what a privilege it is to call their passion their job. Jordan, in media interviews, always talks about his thirst for on-field knowledge and learning from more experienced players. He knows he has the natural qualities to play for his country but he is also modest in detailing that natural ability isn’t the only requirement. ALSO: Hawk-eye Williams ready to take the gap His coaches, at national age-group level and at the Lions, speak of the maturity of a young man who played against the British & Irish Lions when he was just 19 years old. If you go further back, to his schooling, which started in the Eastern Cape and culminated at Glenwood High in Kwazulu-Natal, you get a similar theme. Both brothers have always been exceptional in their performances, but equally grounded with humility and a work ethic that speaks to excellence. The Springboks, since Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber took charge in 2018, have relied mostly on Handre Pollard as the first choice No 10. In Pollard’s absence, Elton Jantjies has played at No 10, and in the most recent two Test wins Damian Willemse, used at No 15 and No 12, started at No 10. Pollard is currently injured, Jantjies is out of the national mix because of off-field issues and Willemse missed the Rugby Championship’s final match because of concussion. The national coaching leadership, because of circumstance, picked 35-year-old Test utility back Frans Steyn to start at flyhalf. Steyn, who in his early international years played wing, fullback and flyhalf before settling at inside centre. He will play at No 10 for the Springboks for the first time in 14 years. There is a flyhalf crisis at national level and also one tier down, with both Cell C Sharks options, Curwin Bosch and Lionel Cronje, injured in pre-season matches. The Vodacom Bulls veteran flyhalf Morne Steyn is no longer an international consideration, having retired from Test rugby a year ago. The DHL Stormers Manie Libbok and Bulls Chris Smith complete the flyhalf pool in South Africa, but it is Hendrikse who the national selectors singled out for praise earlier in the year. Now, in the next month, Hendrikse could fast-track his international ambitions through transforming the Lions fortunes in the URC, starting with the Ospreys in Wales and finishing four weeks later against Ulster in Johannesburg. MORE: Wonder kid Wessels to keep Bulls rumbling forward Photo: Willem Loock The post Hendrikse zones in on Bok No 10 jersey appeared first on SA Rugby magazine.

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