Vodacom Bulls centre JJ Engelbrecht hasn't given up on a Springbok recall, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
It’s been more than a year since Engelbrecht last played for the Boks, but the midfielder says he knows what he needs to do to play himself back into contention.
Engelbrecht featured in 11 Tests in 2013, starting in nine of them, before finding himself out of favour last year.
The 26-year-old will be heading off for a stint with Japanese Top League club Toyota Industries Shuttles later this year, before returning to the Bulls for next season’s Super Rugby competition.
Although Engelbrecht remains in the international wilderness, the Port Elizabeth-born back knows where he stands.
‘I know I need to get my hands on the ball a bit more, and try get as involved as possible. The big concern last year was my error-rate, but I think it was a lot better this year. So I’ve been in conversation with Heyneke [Meyer], we have a good relationship, and I know it’s up to me to play myself back into contention.’
Engelbrecht said he remained in a good space despite his omission from the Springbok squad named last month.
‘I’ve got my confidence back and I’m really enjoying my rugby again … For me personally, this Super Rugby season was a better one. Last year was quite tough, so I was pleased to see that improvement.’
Engelbrecht is set to feature for the World XV against the Springboks at Newlands on Saturday, but he said the match wasn’t about making a personal statement.
‘Bok selection is ultimately something that’s out of my hands. My mindset is just to go out there and perform to the best of my ability … You can’t control everything, but you can control your emotions and how you perform on the field.’
Photo: Steve Haag//Gallo Images