French-bound JC's Bok dream alive
French-bound JC's Bok dream aliveSHARE
He had a very small sip of the sweet taste of being a Springbok, but JC Janse van Rensburg hopes to become a 'real' Bok.
The Lions captain, now on loan to the Sharks for the duration of their Australasian tour, is determined to use the opportunity of playing Super Rugby to ensure he gets a Bok cap.
Speaking to this website in an exclusive interview from Bayonne in France – where he is for medical tests ahead of joining them on a two-year contract – he made it clear that his desire of joining the Boks again is a raging 'fire'.
As an unused player on South Africa's year-end tour, Janse van Rensburg is technically a Springbok. However, tradition dictates that he is allowed to have a Bok blazer, but can't wear it – it is always carried over his arm.
That is a little matter he hopes to rectify.
"I will never give up that dream," he told this website, when asked about the chance to play Super Rugby and impress the national selectors.
"I got a small taste of it [to be a Bok] at the end of the year and I am working hard to get it – I want to pull that jersey over my head and say I'm a real Springbok.
"I don't enjoy being called a Springbok and I am not really one. The blazer still hangs over the arm, I am not allowed to wear it – I really want to put it over my shoulders, so hopefully this is my opportunity."
It is indeed strange times for the 27-year-old prop forward, who captained the Lions to victory over the Pumas in a Vodacom Cup match in Nelspruit last Friday, before flying out to France for medical tests with Bayonne and then getting a call from the Sharks.
He doesn't mind collecting a few extra air miles.
"Obviously it wasn't expected that Beast [Tendai Mtawarira] would be injured at the weekend, so the call [from the Sharks] was unexpected," Janse van Rensburg told this website.
"In life things often happen for a reason and I believe this happened for a reason.
"The big boss knows how hard I am working to play good rugby and this could be an awesome opportunity to get my foot in the door at the Springboks."
He admitted it has been a frustrating year so far, not being part of the Super Rugby competition.
"It has been tough, because I have been out of the spotlight and haven't played any top rugby, it has been difficult and very frustrating for me," the powerful prop said.
"I am very excited about the prospect," he said of his pending trip to Hamilton in New Zealand to join up with the Sharks ahead of an encounter with the Chiefs and a replay of last year's Final in Hamilton.
However, there's a minor snag.
"My [Australasian] visa expired last month and they [the Sharks management] are busy organising a visa for me," he said, adding: "The fact that I am in France makes it a bit more problematic, but at this stage it looks like I will fly from Paris straight to New Zealand."
The loosehead prop, with over 100 appearances in Currie Cup and Super Rugby for the Lions, said he believes in his abilities and have worked hard to recover from an injury earlier this year.
"I feel in good form and it is a great opportunity for me, so I am looking forward to some [top flight] game time."
He is not sure when he will return to the Lions.
"My agent and the Sharks have discussed those details while I'm here in France – I will only know the finer details once I join up with the Sharks."
He will only join Bayonne after the Lions' promotion-relegation game in early August, to start the two-year deal he signed with the French giants.
However, he remains available for Bok selection, like all French-based players.
Bayonne, also called Aviron Bayonnais, is based in the Basque region in southwestern France at the confluence of the Nive and Adour rivers, in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques.
"They play at the Parc des Sports also known as Jean Dauger in Bayonne.
By Jan de Koning