Rohan Janse van Rensburg provided a timely reminder of his quality in helping Sale Sharks beat Wasps in a tightly-fought encounter in Coventry on Tuesday.
Janse van Rensburg made his first start since mid-February, replacing Manu Tuilagi in the Sale Sharks midfield as the England international was rested after starting in last weekend’s clash with the Exeter Chiefs.
The 25-year-old missed the first two matches of the Premiership restart after serving a ban handed to him during the lockdown for signing playing contracts for both Sale and Gloucester, before he joined Sale ahead of the 2018-19 season.
It is clear, therefore, that he would have been keen to make the most of this opportunity, especially given that Tuilagi has hit the ground running since joining the Sharks from Leicester Tigers.
The game itself won’t be in the highlights packages as Sale had to grind out an intense 20-11 victory after taking a slim 9-6 lead into half time. Not that it makes it any less important for the visitors, who were under pressure of falling out of the race for the playoffs after losing their two fixtures since the season resumed. The result allowed Sale to rise from fourth to third on a tightly contested table, with just eight points separating second-placed the Bristol Bears from sixth-placed Northampton Saints.
Coming up against the dangerous Wasps centre pairing of Jimmy Gopperth and former All Blacks midfielder Malakai Fekitoa, Janse van Rensburg can be pleased with his performance. Considering that his defence hasn’t been the strongest part of his game – with a current 74% tackle success rate – Janse van Rensburg held his own and completed all eight of his attempted tackles.
Janse van Rensburg was, of course, typically strong in the carry, making 31 metres from eight, but he would have wanted to look after the ball a bit better as he conceded three turnovers.
Now that the one-cap Springbok has a game under his belt, Sale Sharks fans will be keen to see if a potential midfield partnership between him and Tuilagi is a possibility, with their next fixture another crucial one against Bristol in Manchester on Saturday.
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