Don’t fail Jongi

Jongi Nokwe must not be thrown on the rugby scrapheap, according to former Bok centre Brendan Venter.

Venter, writing in the Cape Times, said he felt really sorry for the Boland winger after he was left out of the Stormers match 22 for Saturday’s game against the Highlanders.

“From being rated as one of the top prospects in this year’s Super 14, he is now seen as someone who lacks confidence, has poor hands and is a weak defender,” wrote Venter. “I can assure you that this is a kid with talent. I worked with him at Boland and I believe he has what it takes to become a legendary Springbok.”

Venter said the way Nokwe is treated over the next couple of months will be crucial.

“South African Breweries has invested R1-million for the sole purpose of making sure that the likes of Jongi are not thrown into the rugby wilderness due to obvious deficiencies in their game.

“If Jongi played in Australia, where natural talent in rugby is incredibly scarce, his electrifying pace and elusive footwork would have been enough to convince them to invest serious energy into making him a world-class sportsman.

“Only time will tell whether our rugby system can deal with Jongi’s case. We have a responsibility not to fail him.”