JP off the mark in style

Springbok debutant JP Pietersen showed that he has a future at Test level with a solid performance at fullback at Ellis Park.

Apart from a single dropped high ball that led to a penalty and three points after flank AJ Venter deliberately played the ball from an off-side position, Pietersen did everything that was expected of him.

But as is expected of a player making his Bok debut, he didn’t get much rest last night. “I didn’t sleep much last night,” Pietersen said. “This morning I was still up. I went to the toilet a lot. But it in the end it was a great thrill to have played my first Test.”

The senior players helped calm his nerves and he showed a maturity way beyond his 20 years. At one stage he also showed his pace, winning the race to the ball that had been hacked ahead by the visitors. He was first there and then managed to earn a scrum for his efforts.

“The older guys made it much easier. It was really like playing a game for the Sharks and was actually much easier than I expected. I was really comfortable and felt really good.”

As the Wallabies had warned, Pietersen and Wynand Olivier were peppered with high balls all afternoon, but both came through that test with reputations intact.

“I knew it was going to come and I was lucky I just missed one otherwise it was good,” he said. “I did my homework on that. There was not a lot of attacking opportunities, but I took the opportunities I did have with both hands.”

“I still have a lot to work on and hopefully I will get another chance.”

By Andrew Hollely, at Ellis Park Stadium