Emirates Lions inside centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg will be aiming to make a smashing return to Super Rugby when he comes off the bench for the Lions against the Cell C Sharks in Durban today.
Janse van Rensburg made his much anticipated return from injury for the Lions SuperSport Rugby Challenge side that lost in the semifinals of the competition to the Tafel Lager Griquas at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane this past Sunday afternoon, and spoke to the Dispatch about his return to the playing field.
“It was good being back on the field. I am a bit rusty but I see a lot of room for improvement. Obviously it is Super Rugby now, I will fall into that squad again, so going forward I just have to work hard and hopefully get some game time against the Sharks,” said Janse van Rensburg.
“The body feels good. It was nice playing again. It is always humbling to play amongst these guys.’’
Janse van Rensburg made his appearance for the Lions off the bench in the Griquas game and, with his side chasing the match, he was unfortunately not able to help them steal a come-from-behind win.
“Super Rugby is obviously a bit quicker but I feel the match against the Griquas was at a really good intensity and I feel it was a good warm-up for what comes next,” said Janse van Rensburg.
“You wouldn’t believe the feelings I had before playing this game. It is always special to come back from a long injury and it doesn’t matter where you play. If it is the SuperSport Challenge or Super Rugby, you are always pumped to play for the Lions.”
Janse van Rensburg picked up the knee injury, which also ruled him out of the Springboks’ three-Test series win over France, in April against the Stormers and he will hope to remain injury free throughout the rest of the Lions Super Rugby campaign.
“Obviously after a big injury it is not the best decision to force a guy into a full 80 minutes. You need to ease someone back into the game again, so for me I preferred that,” said Janse van Rensburg.
“I felt really good in the game, just to get back out there and be amongst the guys and to get some confidence in my knee. It was great.
“Despite the result it was awesome playing here in Mdantsane. It was nice to see all the people coming out. We heard before the game that there would be a lot of people here but I didn’t expect it, so when I got here and saw the vibe it was just amazing.”
If the Crusaders lose their final pool match this morning against the Hurricanes, it means a win for the Lions over the Sharks will see them top the overall log, giving them home ground advantage for the quarters, semis and final which could prove vitally important in their quest to win the competition.
“I feel the team is looking good at the moment. They are very confident at this stage of the tournament and the guys are enjoying their rugby,” said Janse van Rensburg.
“I think we just need to take it week by week and we will see from there what needs to be done.
“If we can get a home final it would be fantastic. That would be a dream match but obviously we must take it one game at a time. We can’t get caught up on what could happen and just work at taking the next team in front of us.”
After Super Rugby Janse van Rensburg will hope that he has done enough to force his way back into the plans of the Springbok management team, with the Rugby Championship following after.
“Firstly it is the Lions I need to serve but obviously it would be a fantastic bonus if I can get back into the Bok setup.
“After what happened against the French side recently it would be special to get into that group. I want to be a part of that and will certainly play to try get back into the mix,” insisted Janse van Rensburg.
The Lions versus Sharks final pool match kicks off at 5pm tonight and will be the last game of this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby pool stage, with the quarterfinals set to commence next week.