Cornal Hendricks’ career renaissance will have another new exciting chapter when he runs out at outside centre for the Bulls in this weekend’s Superhero Sunday event in Nasrec.
Given the 12-cap Springbok’s age – 31 – this is an interesting move from franchise coach Pote Human as most backline players are settled in their positions at that stage of their careers.
But Hendricks’ career path hasn’t been conventional as a heart condition saw him battle to find a new employer for the best part of three years despite various specialists having cleared him to resume playing.
The Bulls were rewarded last season for taking a punt as the hard-working winger enjoyed a fine year and is playing with such vigour that Human believes there’s more than enough gas left in the tank for him to be tested in his new position.
“We want to give Cornal an opportunity at centre. I believe it’s our last chance really to see if he can work in that position,” said Human.
“If it doesn’t really work out (Sunday against the Lions) we have Johnny Kotze on the wing with whom he can swop positions during the game.”
Not that the Bulls mentor is particularly worried about Hendricks not adapting in midfield.
“I want to use him at centre because of his speed and his physicality. I always favour centres who play a physical type of game. It’s also important for us to be strong in that area because the Sharks (the Bulls’ opening opponents in Super Rugby) also boast powerful centres,” said Human.
“One of the other things that count in his favour is that he’s work-rate is very high. He loves to get the ball in his hands. I really think he can do a job for us.”