Rohan Janse van Rensburg says the environment at English club Sale Sharks is primed to bring out the best in players, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
On Monday, the Sale Sharks claimed a comeback win over Harlequins to claim the Premiership Rugby Cup and their first piece of silverware since 2006. It was also the first time the club has won England’s knockout cup competition.
Among a host of top South African players, Janse van Rensburg has rediscovered some of his best form with Sale recently, and is believed to be back on the Springbok radar.
In an interview with SA Rugby magazine, the powerful centre provided insight into the culture at the English club.
‘It’s a very comfortable environment, to be fair. It’s definitely coach-based but the players have vast influence. With the way things work, in regard to attack for example, Paul Deacon, our attack coach, has a great mind for attack but he still allows the players to help out with the flow.
‘So when things don’t work out, the players can have a say, like, “Maybe we can try this or that”. So, it’s a very welcoming environment, and the same in defensive ways – it’s based around both coach and players. Like I said, it’s a comfortable environment.
‘You walk into the club and feel you can add value, which obviously brings a nice comfortability when you’re on the field. You know that whatever you saw and said is taken into consideration and that obviously makes it nice. There’s also a new facility we train at, and it’s no joke! It’s one of the best facilities I’ve ever trained at.’
Reflecting on what it’s been like for players to adapt to new safety protocols and to play without a crowd present, Janse van Rensburg said it certainly took some getting used to.
‘I think for us players it’s quite different because you get tested twice a week on a Monday or a Tuesday and the same again on Saturday. You get tested two days before a game. But I think it’s nice for us just being around each other again, training and playing.
‘Getting used to no crowds and everything I think in the beginning was definitely a massive adjustment for the boys, because obviously, a crowd is a major factor for some teams in different stadiums. One reason is that they may be able to get more passion or bit more energy because of the crowd picking them up. It was definitely a massive adjustment in the beginning but I think now we’ve all got used to it a little bit more.’