Scouting report: Jan Serfontein

Date published: June 24 2012

Planet Rugby's scouts headed over to Newlands to watch South Africa's inside centre at the Junior World Championship.

Planet Rugby's scouts headed over to Newlands to watch South Africa's inside centre at the Junior World Championship.

Who is he?

In case you haven't already heard, South Africa's Jan Serfontein was named the IRB Junior Player of the Year 2012 following a thrilling Junior World Championship final against New Zealand, which saw the Baby Boks crowned champions for the first time.

Serfontein is the first South African to win the Award, and the first to receive an IRB age grade honour since Pat Barnard was named the IRB Under 21 Player of the Year in 2002.

The 19-year-old from Port Elizabeth just edged out Ireland's JJ Hanrahan and team-mate Shaun Adendorff to win the prestigious accolade. He joins some illustrious company including Luke McAlister, Jerome Kaino, Lionel Beauxis and Aaron Cruden (amongst others) in winning the award.

Already a star of schoolboy rugby at Grey College, Serfontein made his debut for the Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup team against the Pumas in Nelspruit in March this year.

His great grandfather is Jack Slater, a Springbok of three Test matches (1924 and 1928). His father, also Jan, played 117 times for Eastern Province.


Standing 187cm (6'2″) tall and weighing 97kg (214lbs), Serfontein already has the physique to compete at senior level. As part of the Baby Boks leadership group, he started all five games for the hosts.

Serfontein was a standout player from day one of the tournament, catching the eye with his running lines, excellent distribution of the ball and robust defence. He even has a decent boot.

Winning try:

His elusive and creative play coupled with great vision and awareness saw him score four tries in South Africa's five games, including the winning try in the final.

That score seemed to sum up his tournament Рthe move started when he plucked fly-half Handr̬ Pollard's bomb out of the air and it was a fitting climax to a fantastic final that he was on hand to finish off, beating three defenders as he stepped and muscled his way to the line.

He said:

“I am humbled by the award, but must credit everyone that was on the field with me. This was a team effort from the start, where everyone just worked so hard for the guy next to him. It is a special feeling for all of us.”

We think:

Serfontein will be eligible to play in 2013 again, which speak volumes for his ability already. The fact that the Blue Bulls are already using him at senior level is an illustration of how far ahead of most of his peers he is. At this rate, he could be the next Frans Steyn.