Bok wing has Olympic dream

Cornal Hendricks (Gallo Images)
Cornal Hendricks (Gallo Images)
Bloemfontein - Dual-code Springbok Cornal Hendricks says winning the Commonwealth Games gold medal is just the start of his Olympic dream.

It's been an amazing year for Hendricks.

After making his Super Rugby debut for the Cheetahs and displaying outstanding form throughout the tournament, he earned his first Springbok call-up and went on to play in all four international fixtures against the World XV, Wales and Scotland in June, scoring two tries.

He then joined the Blitzbokke squad named to compete in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. He helped the Springbok Sevens to the country's first rugby gold medal at the prestige tournament, defeating defending and four-time champions New Zealand 17-12 in the final.

Upon his return to South Africa on Tuesday night, Hendricks admitted that the switch back to sevens rugby was a challenge, but said it was all worth it.

"I joined the squad two weeks before the Commonwealth Games. The conditioning and adapting to the sevens structures was the most difficult part of moving from 15s back to sevens rugby," Hendricks told the MyPlayers website.

"In sevens rugby you have more space to cover compared to 15s. It was also tough on the body to play six games a weekend again. Luckily I played sevens rugby for two years, so I had the experience to make a successful switch.

"From a team perspective, our preparations really went well," he continued. "The coaches did a great job preparing the players. We knew this tournament was a once-off, so it was important to get our basics right from game one. We played for each other and we wanted to make South Africa proud. This was really a special weekend for all of us."

With the Rugby World Cup scheduled next year and rugby sevens to make its debut at the Olympic Games in 2016, Hendricks said he has a lot to look forward to.

"Making the Springbok World Cup squad and the Springbok Sevens squad to compete at the Olympic Games are part of my long-term goals," said Hendricks.

"I know I have to continue working hard and improving my game to ensure I achieve this. The big dream would definitely be playing at the Olympics, which every athlete in the world wants to do."

Hendricks also advised that 15-man rugby players will need to invest time playing sevens rugby if they want to be part of the Olympic dream.

"It's not easy for players to switch from 15s to sevens rugby because the requirements are very different. It's not an easy switch to make," said Hendricks. "With two years to go, players will need to make themselves available to get used to the sevens game.

"It's easier to switch from sevens to 15s. With hard work, I managed to do well and achieve my dream of playing for the Springboks. Warren Whiteley is also doing well at the Lions, while Seabelo Senatla and Justin Geduld will play for Western Province during the Currie Cup. I wish those guys well."

For more exclusive player content, check out MyPlayers.co.za
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