Slimmer Ricky ready to rock

Ricky Januarie believes he can regain his Springbok No 9 jersey, despite losing just 2.5kg since his last Test appearance.

Januarie began the Vodacom Super 14 season looking like someone who’d spent more of the off-season in MacDonalds than in the gym. He had a woeful tournament, and was equally disappointing for the Boks.

He came on as a replacement against Scotland (twice) and France, before starting the Brisbane Test which the Boks lost 49-0. That was it for the scrumhalf, as Fourie du Preez reclaimed ownership of the No 9 jersey with Ruan Pienaar being used off the bench.

As a contracted Springbok, Januarie was not allowed to play in the Absa Currie Cup, although with Jano Vermaak in such good form the Bok may have spent most of his time on the bench anyway.

However, with Du Preez being rested for the UK tour, Januarie has a chance to resurrect his international career.

“It was difficult not playing in the Currie Cup,” he told The Star’s Jacques van der Westhuyzen. “You always want to get out there and play, especially when the guys are doing so well [in the latter stages of the competition].

“But the break also did me good. I lost a few kilograms [around 2.5kg] and am now stronger and hungry for action.”

Januarie admitted he would have to raise his game if he wanted to start ahead of the Sharks’ Ruan Pienaar.

“The tour’s a new challenge for me and Ruan with neither of us having played in those conditions,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for all of us, especially the new guys who’ve come in. They can stick their hands up and challenge for a World Cup place.

“And as for me and Ruan … competition for places is always healthy for the team.”