Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Henco van Wyk: ‘Bok dream is alive, but Lions come first for now’

Part of Van Wyk’s excellent start to the season has been the explosive centre partnership formed with Marius Louw.

Exciting Lions midfield talent Henco van Wyk is not focusing on the outside noise surrounding his impressive showings this season and is just trying to give his best for the team which he will hope to do against Ulster at Ellis Park on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 2pm).

Due to his great form in the United Rugby Championship so far, there have been suggestions that Van Wyk should be included in the Springboks end-of-year-tour squad, to possibly turn out for the SA A team that will also be in action in mid-week matches.

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But that is not something the 21-year-old is thinking about at the moment, with him fully focused on performing for the Lions.

“I think if you feel pressure from outside, things will go to your head. So I just want to perform every game, give the best for the team and I don’t feel pressure from the media or anything like that,” explained van Wyk.

“Obviously it is a dream for me to become a Springbok. It has been a dream ever since I started to play rugby, so I am going to give it a crack and give it my all.

“But I am not thinking about any of that or anything to do with the SA A team now. My focus is on the Lions. I am going to give my best in every game and with every chance that I get I just want to serve the team.”

Part of Van Wyk’s excellent start to the season has been the explosive centre partnership he has formed with former Sharks player Marius Louw, which has helped him make the number 13 jersey his own.

“Marius is a quality player and I am enjoying playing with him. I have learnt a lot from him and he leads by example. So hopefully we can just build on where we are now,” said van Wyk.

Successful tour

The Lions are currently on a high having just returned to SA from a successful three match winning tour to Wales and Scotland, but they will need to be at their very best as they face a huge challenge against Ulster.

The Irish powerhouse is considered one of the top teams in the competition and even though they are playing on the Highveld they will still start the game as slight favourites against the in-form Lions.

“Yes we had a good tour but we haven’t achieved anything yet. The competition isn’t won in the first four games. So we are focusing on the next three games that we have at home,” said Lions assistant coach Jaque Fourie.

“We want to start well back at Ellis Park against Ulster and take that into the next two games against Glasgow and the Stormers. So it is vital to do well at home and get a few wins here as well.”

The Lions will also need to be well aware of Ulster’s dangerous attack and be prepared for their strong forward play as well, with their maul often used as a big weapon against other teams.

“Ulster is probably one of the top two teams attacking wise. So they don’t lack anything on attack, but in saying that they maul a lot,” said Fourie.

“Coach Albert (van den Berg) has prepped the forwards for the weekend and what’s coming, so hopefully we can either win the ball in the air or when it comes down and they maul stop it at the source.

“So it’s going to be a big challenge for us but one I think we will be capable of stopping.”