Mohoje is a blindside for the future
Thu, 26 Jun 2014 07:31
See what he does when he comes on
Teboho Mohoje offers coach Heyneke Meyer more than just food for thought as he continues his meteoric rise - a ball carrier, a tackler and a line-out option.
Only a few months after playing Varsity Cup for Shimlas the versatile loose forward could make his Springbok debut playing off the bench against Scotland in Port Elizabeth this weekend.
While a patch of grey hair in his primary school years secured him the Afrikaans nickname "oupa", meaning grandfather, the burley forward is anything but a geriatric.
The QwaQwa-born player has taken an unconventional journey towards reaching the highest honours in South African rugby.
His stars began to align when he moved with his family to Bloemfontein at the age of seven.
His rugby picked up at Louis Botha High School and he went on to play for Free State in the 2007 under-18 Academy and 2008 Craven Week tournaments.
Meyer said he regarded Mohoje as a strong contender for the Springbok side after he impressed both physically and in the line-outs.
"He is big, strong and brilliant in the line-outs. I think he can be a really great blindside flank," Meyer said after handing Mohoje a place on the bench for the weekend's clash against Scotland in Port Elizabeth.
"He has more or less the same build as Willem Alberts and I want to see what he does when he comes on."
The 23-year-old is in the same physical mould of most blindside flanks but adds another dimension to the lineouts.
He had been likened to Juan Smith, regarded as one of the greatest flanks to play for South Africa, but Mohoje would be looking to make his own name when he makes his debut on Saturday.
Meyer went on to praise the Cheetahs' man, mentioning how he had earmarked him for a place in the match-day 23 early on.
"I am very excited about Teboho. He has really impressed me in the camp," Meyer said.
"I've even said to him in the first camp that I thought he was good enough to play and I want to give him a chance against Scotland."
Mohoje's rise may seem rapid but he first had to graduate from three years of playing university rugby for Shimlas before he made his Currie Cup debut for the Cheetahs in 2013.
"It didn't look possible then [playing in the Varsity Cup] but it came now - it is a dream come true," Mohoje said ahead of the Test.
"I am happy that the coach has backed me so far and I really can't wait for Saturday's game.
"He's [Meyer] always backed me from day one at the first camp in Durban, telling me that I will get my chance.
"He doesn't believe in giving people chances, he believes in people deserving chances."
Playing ahead of Mohoje was another legend of recent years in Schalk Burger, who returned to the starting line-up for the first time since the 2011 World Cup.
South Africa has a reputation of producing a plethora of world-class loose forwards and Mohoje would be hoping to follow in the footsteps of the giants who came before him.
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