De Jongh relishing return to 15-man code

Date published: August 18 2016

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Springbok centre Juan de Jongh is relishing his return to the 15-man code after his recent stint with South Africa's Sevens team at the Olympics.

The 28-year-old, who returned from the global showpiece in Rio de Janeiro with a bronze medal, is embracing the challenge of making the transition from the shorter version of the game after he was named in the Boks' squad for the Rugby Championship.

"They are two different codes so it is important for me to make sure now that I’m ready," said De Jongh.

"There is a lot of detail that needs to go into the Springboks now. Sevens is totally different to 15s – there is a lot of other things you need to do there that you can’t do here.

"There are habits you learn in sevens that you can’t do in fifteens and vice versa. I’ve got some time now to make sure I gel into this team culture and make sure I know all the calls and that I’m prepared.

"Hopefully I can still be smart and strong upstairs to make sure I get away from those bad habits and the negative stuff."

De Jongh revealed that his Springbok team-mates quizzed him about his Olympic experience and said he hopes to be part of the Blitzbok squad again when the Games take place in Tokyo in 2020.

"When I started my career, the Olympics was never a goal and now I can call myself an Olympic medallist and that is part of building my legacy and inspiring people to achieve what they want to achieve," he added.

"It is always difficult to change codes and make it into the Sevens team, especially being 28 and being away for so many years. You need to cherish the moments and enjoy them because you never know when it’s gone.

"Hopefully the next time around when it comes, I will be 32 and hopefully the legs will carry because I’d be excited to go for another round.

"It was important to take a lot of memories out of it and to enjoy myself to the fullest."

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