Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer


New Bok No 9 Jaden Hendrikse: ‘I just have to be myself’

Nienaber pointed out that Hendrikse’s selection for the third Test wasn’t just decided on because of his performance in the second Test.


Springbok scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse will be aiming to keep his feet firmly on the ground when he starts in the series decider against Wales at the Cape Town stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Bok coach Jacques Nienaber sprung a surprise on Tuesday when he named Hendrikse as starting scrumhalf for the third Test ahead of Faf de Klerk who will play off the bench.

Hendrikse is thus under pressure to perform, but admits getting the backing from the coaches is a big boost, which allows him to focus on the game.

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“If the coaches back me then I am going in with a simple plan to do the basics well and just do what the team needs me to do to help them win,” said Hendrikse.

“This match is like a final for us. If we win the game we win the series, so there are a bit of nerves but once I do my first play in the game the nerves will go away and then I can just focus on executing in my job.

“Now I will just trying to stay consistent and keep my performances up. I just have to be myself and do what I can do to provide for the team.”

Hendrikse’s help

Despite having taken De Klerk’s spot, Hendrikse explained that he had received a lot of help from him and Herschel Jantjies in preparing him for the Welsh challenge.

“They have really helped me see different pictures in different situations and also how to manage a game at the back end. That has been a major learning for me,” said Hendrikse.

“Seeing it at Test match level has also been extremely important because it is more detailed, which makes executing that detail even harder.”

Strong season

Coach Nienaber pointed out that Hendrikse’s selection for the third Test wasn’t just decided on because of his performance in the second Test and that his form for the Sharks over the past season played a big role in him being backed.

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“If you look at Jaden’s performances over the season for the Sharks I thought they were good. If you look at the performance analysis we did on him, he was really on form and there wasn’t a big gap with what he was producing for them and what we are looking for,” explained Nienaber.

“So it has been consistent performances (over the season) and not just what he produced last weekend. He has been good in training, he was with us from the start of our build up and he has been solid since then.”

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