De Jongh ready to take centre stage again

Wed, 17 Aug 2016 08:00
Large juan de jongh 800

INTERVIEW: Juan de Jongh is hoping to secure a regular spot in Allister Coetzee's Springbok squad after nearly four years in the international wilderness.

The centre, who recently returned from the Rio Olympics with a Sevens bronze medal, was largely ignored during Heyneke Meyer's tenure as Springbok coach. The 28-year-old last ran out in a Springbok jersey in 2012 in what was Meyer's first year in charge.

However, with Coetzee now at the helm of the national team, De Jongh is ready to make his mark in the green and gold once again, starting in this year's Rugby Championship. 

"That [being ignored by Heyneke Meyer] is something that was out of my control," De Jongh told reporters in Nelspruit.

"That is in the past now and I don't want to go into that. My only focus during those years was to work hard, to make sure that I was well prepared and to make sure that I gave myself an opportunity, even though some people did not think the same way."

De Jongh played under Coetzee for a number of years when the latter was the head coach of Western Province and the Stormers. De Jongh is hoping that his relationship with Coetzee will extend to the national set-up for the next few years as well.

"It is fantastic to be back and working with Allister again," De Jongh added. "He has been my coach for several years now and we formed a nice relationship at Western Province. 

"I just want to make sure that I am well prepared to give myself every opportunity to make the team. Hopefully, I get an opportunity from him [Coetzee] to express myself, so that I can at least find myself a spot in this team and stay here for a very long time.

De Jongh said main focus this week is to shift his focus from Sevens to XVs after being a part of Neil Powell's Olympic Sevens team. 

"It is two different codes - there is a lot of technical and individual details that needs to go into the Springboks now. Sevens is a totally different code to XVs. 

"You learn habits in Sevens, which you can't do in XVs, so it is important that I get some time now to gel into this [Springbok] culture and gel into this team. 

"Hopefully, I can still be smart and strong upstairs to make sure that I get away from those bad habits and negative stuff," he said.

By Warren Fortune, in Nelspruit
@FortuneWarren
@rugby365com

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
Fri, 22 December 2017
Wasps v Gloucester 22h00 Ricoh Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Harlequins 22h00 Kingston Park
Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs 22h00 Franklin's Gardens
Leicester Tigers v Saracens 22h00 Welford Road
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers 22h00 Sixways
Sale Sharks v Bath 22h00 AJ Bell Stadium
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand 6 6 0 0 28
Australia 6 2 2 2 15
South Africa 6 2 2 1 14
Argentina 6 0 0 6 0