The appeal of Blitzboks prestige meant the Lions had no problem loaning out Jordan Hendrikse

Lions fly-half Jordan Hendrikse in action against the Stormers at Ellis Park. (Photo by Gordon Arons/Gallo Images)

  • A call up to the Blitzboks is as prestigious as the Springboks, which is why the Lions let Jordan Hendrikse go to the London Sevens this weekend.
  • The gifted 20-year-old pivot left a decent mark on the Lions’ inaugural URC campaign and will pick up skills that will only expand his repertoire.
  • Assistant coach Ricardo Loubscher also believes Hendrikse will benefit from the Blitzboks’ general culture of excellence.

Jordan Hendrikse and the Lions treated his slightly surprising signing to the Blitzboks for this weekend’s London Sevens as nothing less than a prestigious national call-up.

With the Ellis Park-based franchise’s interest in the United Rugby Championship (URC) over, they were duly forced to hand over their gifted 20-year-old fly-half to Neil Powell and co, knowing it’s a mutual passing beneficial for all. parties.

“It’s always nice to represent your country,” Ricardo Loubscher, former Springbok assistant coach and Lions skills and defense guru, said on Friday ahead of the Currie Cup side’s meeting with the province of New York. West on Saturday at home.

“It’s especially special when it comes to the Springboks or the Blitzboks. It’s a really great opportunity for Jordan.”

READ | Hendrikse set for unexpected Blitzbok role

The culture of excellence Powell has cultivated for nearly a decade will serve especially well for Hendrikse, who, despite his age, is tasked with leading the future of the Lions in Europe.

“Off the pitch, just being exposed to the national rugby 7s culture will be great for him,” Loubscher said.

“It’s an environment where you can learn a lot. Also, obviously we have a lot of hope that Jordan will bring those experiences and those learnings back and let it filter into his own game and our setup.

“It’s an exciting time on every level.”

There was a distinct feeling that Hendrikse, despite a profitable URC campaign in terms of points (117), provided only a glimpse of the heights he could possibly reach.

His attacking prowess, particularly in terms of quick decision-making, will receive a major boost in the seven-man arena, while he will also find the defensive demands testing.

Interestingly, despite his wiry 1.86m and 75kg frame, Hendrikse has been a minor revelation with his tackling ability this season, as he boasted a pretty decent completion rate of 92%.

On the contrary, the sevens format will only refine and tighten his defensive reading of the game.

“Being exposed to the format is definitely a plus for any player,” said Loubscher, who also represented the Blitzboks between 1999 and 2001.

“It really expands your skill base in general. One of the most important things you learn is how to beat a defender in a one-on-one situation. If you turn him around, you also have to quickly learn to be a solid. on a tackler. You have to get the shot right the first time.

“These are definitely skills that you can transfer back to the game at 15 again.”

Saturday’s game starts at 5:00 p.m.

Teams:

the Lions

15 Quan Horn, 14 Stean Pienaar, 13 Henco van Wyk, 12 Matt More, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Tiaan Swanepoel, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Francke Horn, 7 Emmanuel Tshituka, 6 Sibusiso Sangweni, 5 Reinhard Nothnagel (captain), 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Morne Brandon, 1 JP Smith

Subs: 16 PJ Botha, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 19 PJ Steenkamp, ​​20 Jarod Cairns, 21 Morne van den Berg, 22 Manny Rass, 23 James Tedder

Western Province

15 Tristan Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Cornel Smit, 11 Ebenezer Tshimanga, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Junior Pokomela, 7 Marcel Theunissen, 6 Nama Xaba (captain), 5 Adre Smith, 4 Ernst van Rhyn, 3 Sazi Sandi, 2 Jacques van Zyl, 1 Ali Vermaak

Subs: 16 HP van Schoor, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, 19 Ben-Jason Dixon, 20 Keke Morabe, 21 Thomas Bursey, 22 Mnombo Zwelendaba, 23 Rikus Pretorius

Charles P. Patton