Pretoria - Bulls lock Jason Jenkins believes his team’s biggest enemy now is self-doubt and they want to overcome this to move forward as a team.
Jenkins said while the team had disappointed on tour and won just one from five in the Super Rugby competition thus far, they were far better than their results suggested and ahead of their north-south derby with the Stormers, they simply needed to keep believing, according to supersport.com website.
“For us we know we need to stick to the process, we know what we want to achieve. You can see we are playing better rugby and the results don’t show it at the moment, and that is what the fans want at the end of the day,” the lock said.
“But we know what we want to achieve from the tour and it would have been nice to win one or two of those games. We won’t change much here at home, but we need to ensure that we win here.
“The big challenge for us is not to doubt our systems, but we need to continue. It showed already that what we are doing is much better - we beat the Hurricanes. Hopefully over the next few weeks we can get the results.”
Jenkins said while it was a big loss to lose Lood de Jager and RG Snyman in the past two weeks, he was up for the challenge to step up and fill their large boots on the field.
“It’s obviously a big loss for us losing those two, they’re both quality players, they have had a great season, both of them. But I don’t mind taking on the challenge. I think we have the guys to do the job so we aren’t going to stand back. We know the Stormers also have a few injuries in the playing department, so at the end of the day it is an even playing field. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
As for the Stormers, the challenge doesn’t come bigger than this as they have a strong pack, and Jenkins believes this is the key area ahead of the showdown between the old rivals.
“We know they have a strong pack and have a very strong scrum with Wilco (Louw) and Kitsie (Steven Kitshoff) and so on. We have also watched some of their games and we know the pack is what they rely on. We know it will be a big challenge up front as always but that is what you expect from a north-south derby.”
Jenkins has been pencilled in as a seven flank, something that is unfamiliar territory to him, but he is looking forward to trying out the new position, and even though he has only had a few minutes on the field at the side of the scrum, he is enjoying it thus far.
“Again it was another challenge. I’ve never played there but I had a couple of minutes against the Reds at Seven as well as in the warm-up match against the Jaguares. But now I’m back at lock with all the injuries, so wherever he puts me I will take the opportunity to play. That’s all you want at the end of the day, it broadens my tools as a player. I embrace it and just go on.”
The 22-year old is enjoying the rivalry at the Bulls locks, and while he did spend the Currie Cup season in Japan playing under former Bok coach Jake White, he simply wants to get better and better.
“I think it’s good, you don’t want it easy. You want to be the best and if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. So I think it is healthy for SA Rugby and it is a challenge. It doesn’t make it easy but you can learn a lot from the senior guys as well.
“Jake is also a world class coach and his reputation speaks for itself. I learnt a lot that side as well and he is an amazing thinker in the game, and he really understands the game well. Him and John are both excellent coaches but in a different way, and that is excellent for me as a young player and know both of them, and know so many aspects of the game. To me it is an amazing opportunity to be coached by both of them.”
But the decision to play in Japan probably cost him a chance of having a shot at the Springboks at the end of year tour last year. When injuries came, Ruan Botha was selected, and Jenkins was in Japan. However, it is something he took in his stride.
“It is difficult because you want to play for the Springboks and it makes it difficult when you don’t play in the Currie Cup. But we did look at all those things before we made that decision and there were a lot of locks around playing great rugby at that time. RG and I saw it wasn’t our time yet and we decided to get the experience before we return. In the future we may decide differently but it depends what happens after the World Cup but those are things we will decide at that time.”
Jenkins has an opportunity to impress again. At just 22 he has already 3 Super Rugby seasons of experience behind him and can only improve.
Consistency is what he needs right now and playing time on the field. But he is determined to show he can make a difference for his team.