Low­down on Jaco Kriel

CityPress - - Sport - Graph­ics24

Name: Age: Height: Weight: School: Univer­sity: Mis­cel­la­neous: Dad, Her­man, rep­re­sented North­ern Natal, play­ing on the flank. Kriel was head boy of Hoërskool Stander­ton in his ma­tric year. Spring­bok Pi­eter Hen­driks and Lions team-mate Howard Mnisi are also for­mer pupils of Hoërskool Stander­ton Youth: Mpumalanga Craven Week team – Stel­len­bosch 2007. Cap­tained Lions Un­der-21 Se­nior: Golden Lions Na­tional: Se­lected for SA Sevens side, but un­able to play be­cause of in­jury Achieve­ments: Lead­ing try-scorer 2014 Cur­rie Cup com­pe­ti­tion Hero: For­mer Spring­bok flank Wikus van Heer­den Ja­cobus ‘Jaco’ Kriel 25 1.84m 89kg Hoërskool Stander­ton Univer­sity of Jo­han­nes­burg to hang on to El­ton Jan­tjies, he was al­lowed to re­turn to Jo­han­nes­burg after just a week.

Hail­ing from Stander­ton in Mpumalanga, Kriel says he owes a lot to his Stander­ton High School coach Ri­aan Viviers.

“Up to Stan­dard 8 [Grade 10], I was a fly half, but one day Mr Viviers told me to go to num­ber 6. He just told me to play my nat­u­ral game, to play to the ball and con­cen­trate on link­ing.”

Kriel be­lieves this early ground­ing has en­abled him to fit into the Lions’ pat­tern as he is com­fort­able run­ning with or han­dling the ball and look­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties to pro­vide con­ti­nu­ity.

He re­vealed that he has al­ways been a Lions fan. “Grow­ing up, my hero was Wikus van Heer­den.

“I was dev­as­tated when he moved to the Bulls, but he re­turned to the Lions to win the Cur­rie Cup in 2011 and it was one of the great­est learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences of my life to meet him, prac­tise and play with him at the Lions.

“It was great to see how he con­ducted him­self on and off the field. Wikus was my role model.”

The coun­try boy cer­tainly de­serves a Bok call-up, but to­mor­row will tell whether Meyer has de­parted from his “big-is-bet­ter” mantra or whether there is room for Kriel in the team.

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