Considered to be one of the Lions’ prime signings two years ago, ace midfielder James-Henry Mollentze is “crazy” about the idea of getting exposure in the Preparation Series.
Although initially lured as a flyhalf to the Lions from the Cheetahs where he was a star in their U20 side three years ago, he took up the inside centre berth in the Lions’ opening match against the Pumas last weekend.
Seen as backup to Elton Jantjies, Tiaan Swanepoel and Gianni Lombard, Mollentze experienced a great Junior World Cup for the Baby Boks in 2019 where he played at flyhalf.
“I am crazy about the idea that the young players especially are getting an opportunity to show what they an do at this level,” said the 21-year-old Mollentze. “Hopefully this exposure will prepare us for playing at senior level.”
Having gone to school in Outeniqua in George, Mollentze formed a Lions midfield partnership with Manny Rass last weekend as the Joburg-based side edged the Pumas 32-28.
In the absence of regular midfielders such as Burger Odendaal, Wandisile Simelane and Dan Kriel, the likes of Mollentze and Rass can build the Lions depth with a view on the Rainbow Cup next month.
While many believe the team’s next assignment against the EP Elephants in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday will be a walk in the park following Peter de Villiers’ team’s drubbing at Loftus, Mollentze believes no player or team should ever be underestimated.
“I always believe when a team loses by a big margin, they come back better and more hungry,” he said. “And, the fact that we are playing in PE makes it a bigger challenge.”