Lowdown on Jaco Kriel
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.