Kruger aware of Boks' responsibility
Juandre Kruger is well aware of the huge responsibility that rests on his and his teammates shoulders as the Springboks prepare for their Rugby Championship clash with Australia in Perth on Saturday.
The 26-year-old Kruger has been recalled to the Springbok team in place of veteran Andries Bekker and is set to win just his fourth test cap when he takes to the field against Australia at Paterson’s Stadium.
The Bulls’ lock, who last played for the Springboks against England in Port Elizabeth in June, said that he was excited about showcasing his talents on the international stage once again.
“I think I had some good tests against England and we did well as a team. The coach has decided on certain players for certain matches but every time one pulls on that jersey it is one of the most amazing feelings that you can experience,” Kruger told reporters in Perth on Wednesday.
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“When you go out on the field you have a massive responsibility with your whole country behind you. Everything that you do you have to do properly,” he added.
Kruger said that he respected Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s decision to leave him out of South Africa’s first two Rugby Championship clashes, against Argentina, but that he was looking forward to testing himself against the Wallabies.
“The coach felt that that was the best pack to play against Argentina but it is never a nice feeling (being dropped). Everybody wants to be the first choice in their position but I have been given a chance this week and we have a big responsibility in the tight phases because we are up against an experienced pack of forwards so we will have to be at the top of our game,” he said.
“Australia ask tough questions during a match with their tight phases, their kick-offs, they see their kick-offs as an attacking option, but we have prepared well and we will have to dominate those areas to win the match.”
Kruger will be up against Nathan Sharpe who will be playing his last test, his 108th, on his home ground as the curtain begins to fall on what has been an illustrious career, but Kruger said that it was important that the Springboks did not get swamped with the emotion which would surround the Wallabies.
“It will be his last chance to play at home. There are always a lot of emotions but at the end of the day it is still four lines, two sets of poles and you have a responsibility to impose you game-plan on the opposition,” he said.
“I’ve watched a lot of Sharpe this year. He is a top player and one of the best lineout jumpers in the world. He is also the most experienced Super Rugby lock.
“Australia have an experienced pack with good lineout options but we also have good lineout options so I am looking forward to the battle in that area,” he added.