Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen said flyhalf Jordan Hendrikse is a ‘special talent’ after the youngster shone in his first start for the Lions against the Stormers on Saturday.
The 19-year-old Hendrikse, a former Maties junior player, had only played a handful of games off the bench for the Lions since making the move north.
However, he received an important opportunity at senior level as Van Rooyen opted to start him for the Lions’ crunch Rainbow Cup clash against the Stormers in Johannesburg.
While the result did not go the Lions’ way, as the Stormers slotted a late penalty to win 39-37, Hendrikse was a bright spark for the home side, kicking two penalties and three conversions, while also picking up an assist when producing an excellent offload to put flank MJ Pelser away for a try.
‘Playing a game like this, as a 19-year-old, with the way he played, really is exciting,’ Van Rooyen said after the match.
‘He has got a special talent. More than him kicking the ball prodigously, it’s the confidence that he brings in the way he organises everyone around him.
‘We are really excited, but also really happy for him.’
Van Rooyen was also impressed with his team’s scrumming performance, as former Stormers Sti Sithole and Carlu Sadie gave the Springbok front row of Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi and Frans Malherbe plenty of problems in this department.
‘Obviously we are proud of the scrum. We know that the Stormers have got a really good scrum so both of our front rows played really well.
‘Someone like Asenathi [Ntlabakanye] playing those last 20 minutes at 22-years-old, thats invaluable experience that he is gaining. It’s the same with [hooker] PJ Botha, he is also just 23-years-old. So our systems worked really well there.’
Photo: Wessel Oosthuizen/Gallo Images