Stormers centre Juan de Jongh says he earned his Blitzbok call up through hard work and the right attitude.
De Jongh is an experienced fifteens player for South Africa and captained the Stormers this year but says that he is focused on going to the Olympics and representing South Africa in the games.
"I must say it was worth it at the end of the day. I feel that the time is here, now. I took a different road to some of the other guys, and I don’t want to say it was an easier road – it was still a tough but shorter road," De Jongh told IOL.
"Two months before we started the last series in Dubai, Neil (Powell) came to me and said he wants to give me a chance and see what I can still do, and if I still have it. And when he told me that, I told myself ‘Listen here, if coach Neil backs you, then you must back yourself.
"That day, when I went back home, I told myself ‘Listen pal, many of the 15s guys are going to come here and tell themselves they have something to fall back on and go back to 15s or wherever.
"But the day I began here, I told myself I have no other option and no other way. I’ve got to make this work because this is my last chance. And all the hard work that I put in resulted in me being in the group of 12.
The code-crosser is confident that the Blitzbokke have enough strengths to do well in the Olympic games.
"We do have a lot of things going for us – we have good experience, good culture, talent that doesn’t have to stand back for anyone," De Jongh said.
"But that talent must work together and stand together, and have one vision. We must be 12 guys who work in one direction, and that will be the difference. A game like this is a once-off opportunity – it’s going to come down to one knock here, one yellow card there that can be the difference between gold and fifth or sixth place."