Star scrumhalf Cobus Reinach will continue to strive to become the best No 9 in the game, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
In no uncertain terms, the past 12 months have represented a remarkable period in Reinach’s career.
Besides walking away with a host of awards after a standout 2018-19 season for English club the Northampton Saints, he then received a long-awaited recall to the Springboks, scoring a memorable try in his comeback game against Australia.
What followed was his dream inclusion in the World Cup squad, a record fastest-ever World Cup hat-trick against Canada, culminating in the Boks lifting the Webb Ellis trophy.
If that isn’t enough, he then returned to Saints in scintillating form, where he has been running in tries almost for fun.
It’s been a truly memorable journey for Reinach, who joined Northampton during a challenging rebuilding phase in 2017, having just recovered from a serious knee injury.
However, by the time the 2018-19 season rolled around, Reinach discovered some insatiable form. Hardly a weekend passed in the European competitions without him making headlines. As the Premiership’s top try-scorer, he ultimately took home coveted awards such as the Supporters’ and Players’ Player of the Season.
In an exclusive interview with SA Rugby magazine, he reflects on the work he has put in to reach that point.
‘At my first awards night back in 2017 I didn’t win anything,’ he laughed. ‘But I made it my goal to win everything I possibly could the following year. So, I set my sights on five specific awards: the Supporters player, Players’ player, Premiership player, RPA Player’s player and the Premiership 9 award. I managed to win three of the five, but I was only nominated for the Premiership player of the season and RPA players player of the season.
‘Still both the nominations and the wins meant a lot. Top try-scorer was never a goal of mine, it was a nice surprise, though, especially considering I’m a scrumhalf. The 2018-19 season was a big turning point for the Saints. We have a terrific group of guys, so I’m excited to see how the club will grow in the current and coming seasons.’
‘I was in good form and eager to contribute, so when you don’t get the opportunity you’re hoping for of course that’s disappointing, but I don’t allow myself to dwell on disappointment for long. The World Cup squad was by no means finalised [at that time] so there was still time to force my way back. That’s what I was focused on, just using every game to get me one step closer.’
Reinach did just that and ultimately his form was simply too good to ignore. After returning to the Boks after a four-year absence and going on to win the World Cup, Reinach remains as steadfast as ever in his ambitions.
‘As long as I play professional rugby my goal to be the best 9 in the world won’t change. Even if I fall short, striving for it makes me better.’
And while there have been some recent talk about a possible move to Montpellier, Reinach says nothing has been decided yet.
‘A few clubs, including Montpellier, have expressed interest. Montpellier will offer me the opportunity to play alongside a few of my Springbok teammates on a weekly basis. However, the Saints are on a very exciting growth path at the moment. There are a lot of factors that need to be weighed up.’