Rohan Janse van Rensburg is looking forward to experiencing a new environment as he gets set for a short-term stint with the Sale Sharks in England, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
Janse van Rensburg will be joining up with the English club on a three-month deal before returning to the Lions ahead of the 2018 Super Rugby season.
The highly-regarded centre told SARugbymag.co.za on Monday that he felt that the timing was right to make the move as he aims to work towards becoming an even more well-rounded player.
‘I’m really excited. I hadn’t really thought about going overseas because I’d hoped to make the Bok squad [for the end-of-year tour], but when I unfortunately wasn’t selected, I started to think about other options. The opportunity to join Sale then came up, and I’m really grateful to the Lions for allowing me to head over for a bit.’
It’s been a challenging year for Janse van Rensburg both on and off the field. At the beginning of the year, the 23-year-old lost his mother to cancer, while he was also one of the victims of a terrifying house robbery towards the end of April.
Janse van Rensburg also suffered a serious knee injury in a Super Rugby clash against the Stormers in April, and missed out on national selection despite many believing he could add real value to the Bok midfield.
‘It has been a rough year,’ he admits. ‘With all that has gone on, I thought it might be a good thing to go and experience playing in a different environment for a bit, and I’ll hopefully come back an even better player.
‘I’ll also be back in time for the start of Super Rugby with the Lions, while the ultimate goal obviously remains to make it back into the Bok squad.’
In explaining Janse van Rensburg’s omission from the end-of-year squad, Allister Coetzee recently mentioned that it had been a ‘difficult return’ for the centre after a lengthy layoff, while he highlighted the importance of picking an industrious No 12.
‘It has been tough to miss out on Bok selection, and although it isn’t always easy to hear those comments [Coetzee made], I realise the importance of continuing to work on my game,’ he said. ‘It did take me a little while to regain fitness and form after returning from injury, but I started to feel good towards the end of the Currie Cup, and hopefully I can now make the most of this time in England.’
Janse van Rensburg reiterated that he would do whatever it took to get back into the Bok setup.
‘I remain so passionate about playing for the Boks, and it’s difficult when you’re not there, and of course there’s emotion if you’re not selected. But that’s what I’m going to continue working towards, and hopefully this time with Sale will allow me to refresh somewhat and come back in good shape and as a better overall player.’
Photo: Anne Laing