Wembley stars may stay on

Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Jamba Ulengo may yet feature against England, Italy and Wales, reports JON CARDINELLI in London.

The Boks failed to inspire in a 31-31 draw with the Barbarians at Wembley on Saturday. And yet, while the collective lacked synergy, there were some encouraging performances by a couple of rookies.

Janse Van Rensburg crossed the gainline regularly and scored the try that levelled the scores. The elusive Ulengo set up Francois Venter for another important five-pointer late in the second half.

Neither Janse van Rensburg nor Ulengo was expected to feature in the Tests against England, Italy and Wales. However, after their respective performances at Wembley, and given the Boks’ growing injury list, they may yet make their Test debuts in the coming weeks.

Jesse Kriel sustained a leg injury in Saturday’s match, and his scan results will be known over the next day or so. The Bok medical team will also need to assess the injuries of JP Pietersen and Willie le Roux when they rejoin the squad from their respective clubs.

‘The centres impressed me as did Jamba Ulengo,’ Coetzee said after the game against the Barbarians. ‘We may need some players to stay on due to the niggles in our squad.’

After the game, Janse van Rensburg’s centre partner sang his praises.

‘Rohan had an awesome game,’ said Venter. ‘He really gave us some great go-forward. Obviously the combination is new and there are some things to work on, but there were some encouraging signs.’

Janse van Rensburg and Ulengo lack experience at this level. Yet, they have certainly proved that they have the appetite for the physicality and intensity of Test rugby with their performances against the Barbarians.

By contrast, a player like Sergeal Petersen, who was initially selected in the Test squad for this tour, was shown up as inadequate in the recent clash with the Barbarians. Petersen scored a try, but was consistently brushed aside by the bigger Barbarians backs.

Photo: Craig Mercer/CameraSport

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Jon Cardinelli