Hendricks ready for Bok debut

2014-06-05 00:00

CAPE TOWN — A world-class player.

That is how Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer rates Cornal Hendricks, who will get his first taste of international rugby on a 15-man level when he plays against a World team at Newlands on Saturday.

Hendricks was still playing for the Sevens Boks in December before he was given the opportunity to run out for the Cheetahs in the Super Series.

He is South Africa’s Sevens Player of the Year.

“I never thought it would happen so soon,” the 26-year-old Hendricks, who will start on the right wing, said yesterday.

“It has always been my dream to play 15-man rugby for the Springboks. But as they say: It is easier to become a Springbok but more difficult to remain one.”

Hendricks represented the Cheetahs in all their Super Rugby games this year — eight in the starting line-up and four on the reserve bench.

He has scored a number of spectacular tries, the best against the Blues in Auckland when he hit a gap and beat the outside and inside defence.

Hendricks also caused the Stormers’ downfall in Bloemfontein when he beat his direct opposition, Devon Williams, with blatant speed on the way to the scoreline after receiving the ball in a counter-attack.

“There are no words to describe how I feel about putting that [Springbok] jersey on,” he said yesterday.

Earlier during his career Hendricks spent time with the Boland Cavaliers mainly as outside centre and regularly played alongside Willie le Roux, the Boks’ fullback for Saturday’s game.

Juan de Jongh, whom he admires as a role model, gave him some words of advice when they were together at last week’s practice camp. Team-mate Bryan Habana is also a mentor to the new Bok.

“Bryan has already taught me a number of things since his arrival. I am normally not a nervous type but he helped to calm me down and his experience will be worth gold in the backline on Saturday,” Hendricks said.

Although he currently plays for the Cheetahs, Hendricks describes himself as a true Bolander.

He was born in the Paarl, matriculated at the Berg River High School and lived in the Hillcrest area outside Wellington.

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