Stormers head coach John Dobson says Seabelo Senatla’s recent performances have been of an “international level” as the former Blitzboks star is desperate to become a success in the 15-man game.
Senatla signed a contract extension with Western Province Rugby last April, fully committing himself to fifteens after becoming a superstar on the sevens circuit with the Blitzboks.
The 29-year-old first started playing for the Stormers in 2014 under Allister Coetzee, but struggled to make the transition due to the limited space and opportunities to run with the ball. He was also severely tested defensively and under the high ball.
More recently, Senatla has found his playing time limited but his performances in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship derbies against the Vodacom Bulls and Sharks suggest he is finally starting to find his feet with the Stormers.
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He linked up excellently with flyhalf Manie Libbok to score a brace at Loftus Versfeld, and he turned gamebreaker with a spectacular kick-and-collect try against the Sharks in Cape Town last week.
“Every time we get him there [back to his best], there’s either been an injury or Covid-19 issues or the Olympics or a suspension,” Dobson said during a virtual media conference when asked about Senatla’s progress.
“I thought that was an international-level performance on Saturday. I know what is driving Seabelo, and if you know Seabelo, you know that he is really driven.”
Dobson added that Senatla was desperate to become a success with the Stormers and has been putting in extra work after training sessions to make that happen.
“This is a guy who gets somebody to help him practice poaching in his garden. He is a consummate professional, and he is so desperate to be a guy who successfully transitions from sevens to fifteens. On that level, he has every possibility.
“He just needs a sustained run, and I’m quite excited. We’ve got those home games at Cape Town Stadium in March and April, and in those conditions, it could be really good for him and maybe he will get into the international frame.
“The trajectory is looking really good, and he’s absolutely desperate.”
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