Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Canan Moodie comfortable on wing and at 13: ‘I just want to be best I can be’

Moodie admitted that it was still a long road for him to force himself into the Bok reckoning as a regular starter.

Springbok and Bulls flyer Canan Moodie will have a number of fronts to battle it out on this season for a starting berth in the Bok team, after he was deployed on a few occasions at outside centre for the national team last year.

Since turning professional Moodie has played most of his rugby on the wing, while he also played a number of games at fullback for the Bulls when they were in an injury pinch.

ALSO READ: ‘The hard work has paid off’ – SA Rugby Young Player of Year Canan Moodie

But with Lukhanyo Am injured heading into the World Cup last year and Jesse Kriel the only out and out 13, Moodie was given a shot, which he took superbly with a fantastic performance in a record win over the All Blacks at Twickenham just before the showpiece event in France.

He went on to play two more games at 13, in the big pool stage wins over Romania and Tonga, which indicates he is more than comfortable mixing it up on the international level at outside centre.

Second award

Fresh off picking up his second SA Rugby Young Player of the Year award last week, Moodie admitted that he didn’t mind where he played as long as he was on the field.

“For me as a young guy you just want to be in the team and contributing wherever you can. But obviously it was very fun playing in the number 13 jersey. It’s a position I played in and loved in school, so it felt natural to play there,” said Moodie.

“Also getting the backing of the coaches and the guys around me made it much easier for me to slot in there. But anywhere I can contribute within the team I am good with that.”

Moodie admitted that it was still a long road for him to force himself into the Bok reckoning as a regular starter, and that it was only getting tougher with the players coming through, but that he relished the challenge.

“We have had alignment camps and we have been told what we need to work on. I am also very hard on myself. So I just want to improve on what I can and make sure that I am the best player I possibly can be,” explained Moodie.

Extra hours

“I have to put in the extra hours and I can’t be content after winning a few things. I have to keep working harder because the competition is getting tighter. There are more young guys coming through, so I have to be better and learn as much as I can.”

Moodie is also very excited about the series against the number two team in the world and Six Nations champions, Ireland, in July, especially after what the European media has been saying about them in recent times.

“The European media have been saying they are the world’s best team. They are very good and are playing amazing rugby at the moment. But when they come to South Africa we will have a good one (series) on our hands,” said Moodie.

“We will do what we have to do. We have already spoken a bit about it in camp, so I think we are ready for it.”