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Will Boshoff bench a Bok?

Tue, 18 Feb 2014 11:06
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Positive rivalry
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There is no doubting Marnitz Boshoff's ambitions, with the talented Lions utility back finally being rewarded for his pertinaciousness.

The 25-year-old struggled to make a real impact during an extended stint at the Bulls and a one-year stay at Griquas.

Now he has found a happy home at Ellis Park, even with the competition provided by Springbok Elton Jantjies as his rival for a starting berth in the Lions set-up.

Boshoff, who made just 24 appearances for the Blue Bulls in four seasons, marked his Super Rugby debut with a man-of-the-match performance in the Lions' 21-20 win over the Cheetahs last week - scoring all the Lions' points, with six penalties and match-winning drop-goal at the death.

"I have found a place where I am happy," Boshoff told this website in an interview, when asked about his stints at the Bulls (2008 to 2011) and Griquas (2012).

"Most players, when you get to a place where you are happy and the coaches believe in you, as well as give you the opportunities to play, then any player will perform.

"I have made a few moves in my career, but I have found my home at the Lions - and, as I said, when coaches trust you and give you the opportunities to play, it is worth so much more to you. As an individual you will the perform so much better, because there is that trust in you that you can play at certain places on the field."

The rivalry between him an Jantjies is seen as a positive, another challenge in his burgeoning career.

Jantjies, who will make his comeback from shoulder surgery when he plays for the Golden Lions Vodacom Cup team in a warm-up game against the Pumas, will always be regarded as the preferred No.10 at the Lions.

"We may be very competitive, but we complement each other very well on the training," Boshoff told this website.

Like any good team man Boshoff is "happy" to play at No.10 or No.15.

"It what is in the best interest of the team every week. Nomatter where the coach selects me, I will give it my all."

Having been mostly a flyhalf, he thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of running out at fullback when shifted to the last line of defence during the Currie Cup season last year.

"I played No.10 this past weekend and every position presents its own challenges," he said, adding: "I won't say that I have a favourite [position]. I enjoy the challenge of playing No.10 the one week and No.15 the next.

"They are the polar opposite of each other in terms of how you play, but that keeps me on my toes."

He pointed out the huge advantage of moving from flyhalf, where the decision-making process has to be very quick, to fullback, where a player has lots more time.

"I think what makes it easy for a guy who plays at flyhalf, where time is limited, when you then move to fullback and have the extra time, you can make much better decisions.

"You also see a lot  more space [at fullback] than when you are at No.10, where the opponents are in your face the whole time. At No.15 you have a much wider vision of the field and the way you want to play."

Despite coming from the Bulls factory of flyhalves, where a kicking game is the top priority, Marnitz still sees himself as a flyhalf with an expansive game - one who has the option of a tactical kicking game.

"Because I spent some time at the Bulls, where they do place more reliance on a kicking game, I have that ability.

"However, personally I enjoy it more playing an expansive, attacking game."

By Jan de Koning

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