Victor Matfield has backed Jason Jenkins to prove he is worthy of a Springbok call-up after his return to the Vodacom Bulls from Japan.
The Bulls on Monday officially announced that Jenkins had returned to the Pretoria-based franchise on a short-term loan deal from Toyota Verblitz.
The 24-year-old – who can play in the second or back row – spent four years at the Bulls before opting to take up a contract in Japan.
The Springboks could be set to blood a new lock pairing after 2019 World Cup stars Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager both suffered injuries over the weekend, which could keep them out of the Rugby Championship. RG Snyman, another key performer in the World Cup campaign, has already been ruled for the rest of the season through a knee-ligament injury.
Jenkins made his Test debut for the Springboks – his only cap to date – against Wales in Washington, DC in 2018 and has previously played for the South Africa A side in 2017.
Speaking to the Citizen, former Springbok captain Matfield backed Jenkins to replace Etzebeth as the team’s enforcer.
‘Jason is a No 4 lock in the same mould as Bakkies Botha or an Eben Etzebeth. He plays in the same style as them,’ Matfield explained. ‘He’s a big, strong ball-carrier and very good in the lineouts, too. I’ve seen him call the lineouts before as well, and he did it well.
‘But to me he’s more of an enforcer, I don’t see him playing at No 5 for the Springboks.
‘With Lood de Jager and RG Snyman possibly out of contention for the Springboks, Franco Mostert will probably run the lineout. But as a backup, Jason can definitely fill in for Eben Etzebeth at No 4.’
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