The Citizen (KZN)
‘Big lock can seal Bok spot’
JENKINS: MATFIELD SAYS HE‘S IDEAL BOK MATERIAL
Former Bok lock sees the towering Bulls recruit as an enforcer in the Bakkies Botha mould.
Lock Jason Jenkins has played just the one Test for the Springboks, back in 2018, but now that he has returned to the Bulls on loan from Toyota Verblitz, the beefy 24-year-old has the chance to establish himself in the national squad for the rest of the year, with the legendary Victor Matfield seeing him as a definite option for the green and gold.
Jenkins has played for Verblitz since 2017, but represented the Bulls in Super Rugby as recently as last year. But the Pretoria-born St Alban’s College product is now entirely a Verblitz player, with Jake White’s former club agreeing to loan him to Loftus Versfeld until the end of October.
Talks are ongoing though to have Jenkins for longer and the Bulls are hopeful they can extend the loan.
Being based in South Africa will also improve Jenkins’ chances of adding to his solitary Springbok appearance against Wales in Washington, especially with RG Snyman, Lood de Jager and Eben Etzebeth all having suffered injuries recently in Europe.
That could be just the carrot needed to lure him into a longer stay, because Japan’s Covid-19 travel restrictions are pretty onerous at the moment.
Matfield, the most-capped Springbok ever, believes Jenkins can certainly provide able backup in the number four jersey.
“Jason is a number four lock in the same mould as a Bakkies Botha or an Eben Etzebeth, he plays in the same style as them. He’s a big, strong ball-carrier and very good in the lineouts too.
“I’ve seen him call the lineouts before as well and he did it well. But to me he’s more of an enforcer,
I don’t see him playing at number five for the Springboks.
“With Lood de Jager and RG Snyman possibly out of contention for the Springboks, Franco Mostert will probably run the lineout. But as a back-up, Jason can definitely fill in for Eben Etzebeth at number four,” Matfield told The
Matfield also believes the 122kg Jenkins will make the Bulls set-pieces even stronger.
White has a group of promising number five locks in his camp, but big bruisers with experience to fill the number four jersey are a bit thin on the ground.
The other second-rowers in the Bulls squad are Ewan Coetzee, Jean Droste, Andries Ferreira, Sintu Manjezi, Walt Steenkamp, Wian Vosloo and Ruan Nortje.
“Jason is a great signing for the Bulls because last year their front row was really strong, but they perhaps needed that bit of extra bulk in the second row.
“They have one or two number five locks but they definitely missed having an enforcer like Jenkins,” Matfield said.