Reinach has great Bok potential

Date published: August 11 2014

Following in the footsteps of Fourie du Preez, Cobus Reinach has what it takes to become a great Springbok scrum-half.

Following in the footsteps of Fourie du Preez, Cobus Reinach has what it takes to become a great Springbok scrum-half.

His performances on the field may have warranted his call-up to the national squad, but in Heyneke Meyer's books character will always take preference to raw talent and on that front young Reinach checks all the boxes.

The ability to remain calm when pressure is high is but one of many skills that have to form part of the modern scrum-half's skills set and when considering how cool the Sharks number nine was when he faced the media as a Springbok for the first time last week, he should be just fine if given a his debut against Argentina this weekend.

Even before he received his call-up to the Springboks, Reinach knew that he would be probed about his late father, Jaco (a former Springbok), and the role he played in his life.

But nothing would have prepared him for some of the cold, almost callous, questions he was asked by scribes last week.

“My father passed away when I was six, just before I turned seven,” the soon to be Springbok answered for the umpteenth time in his short professional career.

“I have a lost of role models and hero's but my dad is the biggest one. He is my inspiration and he was a Bok so I've always wanted to make him proud.”

Although, when asked about the loss that would change his life forever, Reinach did exceptionally well to hold back emotions that will inevitably be on display whenever he is reminded of that painful event.

The 24-year-old insisted that he would reserve those feelings for the time after the final siren of his debut test.

Towards the end of his first media scrum he asked for some water. And while that request was seen as nervousness by some of those present, the reality is that he is likely to always need some form of refreshment when he is reminded that his dad will not be there to see him achieve something most boys only dream of.

Following in his father's footsteps has always been a goal and is perhaps also the reason why he played most of his junior ruby at wing.

“I didn't have any scrumhalf role models as such when I grew up. They moved me from wing to scrum-half in high school. They said I was too short to play wing. But yes, players like Fourie (Du Preez), George Gregan, I will try to learn as much as I can from all the greats.”

On the positive side, those nostalgic probes into his personal life – particularly from the old guard who would have seen his dad don the Green and Gold during the 80s – would have taught the new number nine a few valuable lessons as far as the demands involved with being a public figure is concerned.

Fortunately, Reinach is a straight shooter and was raised with the values that play such an integral role in the success Grey College graduates tend to enjoy in life.

He attributed most of his success to fitness coach Andre Volsteed, who as a close family friend and mentor, helped guide his career.

Asked whether it will be intimidating to take over from a player like Du Preez, Reinach acknowledged that, if selected, he will be filling the boots of a world class player, yet he insisted that the only way to become world class is to be frequently exposed to that environment.

“To be the best, you have to compete against the best,” he said.

“Experience, game time and learning from a player that that is higher than you is very important.”

But with that said, Reinach insisted that his own probing flavour would not vanish into a set game plan.

“You can't lose your instinct to play even when you have to keep to the game plan,” he added.

Contrary to popular belief the half-back revealed that his father's greatness did not add any additional pressure on him to do the same and that the persistent paternal probes had no bearing on the way he set about achieving his goals.

“I was happy and excited and there was no weight (on my shoulders).”

“If I didn't make it this time I was always going to work on my game to ensure that when the next Springbok group is announced, that I can be part of it.”

With the right approach and sufficient exposure on the international stage there is absolutely no reason why Reinach can't become the next Fourie du Preez.

He negotiated a media storm in Johannesburg last week, and when considering the form of the other nine's in the Bok group, he should be a shoo-in to start against Argentina.

How blessed will the Springboks be when they have a scrumhalf who can stand-in, or replace, Fourie Du Preez when he is not at playing at his best?

By Michael Mentz