Juan in the centre of WP’s campaign


After winning the Currie Cup in his first season as captain of WP last year, the centre looks like a man at ease with the pressures of leading the blue-and-white hoops.

De Jongh’s captaincy was superb in their Currie Cup opener against Griquas in tough conditions last week – his game management was especially a standout feature as he slowed the game down when the WP were down to 14 men for 20 minutes of that encounter. He knew they would need their energy in those conditions in the final quarter of that match in order to leave the Diamond City with maximum points.

But he also played an influential role in the team’s attack with his straight running, and in his support. His passing is also underrated and it’s easy to see why WP coach John Dobson is keen to play him at inside centre. He is also a great defender and rarely misses a tackle.

But whether he continues at outside centre or moves into the No12 jersey, De Jongh must be careful that his role as captain doesn’t influence his flair and his ability.

His greatest strength is his magnificent feet that can dance past any opponent. But this season, he probably passed the ball more than he has over the last five years combined.

Maybe that was one of the messages from Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer when the two had a meeting earlier this season, because in the past he has been guilty of not looking for the winger on his outside. Yes, he has got to pick the situations where he has a go, but De Jongh must back himself to make the right decisions.

The Wellington-born flyer will probably stay at outside centre for Saturday’s match against the Cheetahs at Newlands (3pm) but it will be interesting to see how this backline takes shape over the next few weeks following the return of Johnny Kotze and Kobus van Wyk from injury.

Kotze made a lively entrance off the bench against Griquas, while Van Wyk was one of the stand-out performers in the Currie Cup last year.

While Kotze is being earmarked for a role at outside centre, Van Wyk must fight Dillyn Leyds and Seabelo Senatla for a place in the starting line-up.

“Kobus is looking good at training,” attack coach Dawie Snyman said this week.

“He had a good week last week, and it’s part of our process in terms of broadening our squad, and to make sure that we rotate players at certain stages of the tournament, to get guys fresh and hungry.

“Kobus is looking sharp, and there is a possibility that he might be in the 22 this weekend. I’m sure if he gets his opportunity he will take it”. - The Star

Original source: Juan in the centre of WP’s campaign