Rohan Janse van Rensburg wants to power Sale into the Gallagher Premiership play-offs and relaunch his Springbok career with the aim of facing the British and Irish Lions on their 2021 tour of South Africa.
Van Rensburg, 6ft and 17st, has become one of the most destructive ball-carrying centre’s in Europe and will have a key role to play as Sale attempt to inflict more pain on Saracens when the teams meet in the Premiership at Allianz Park on Saturday. The 25-year-old goes into that game having beaten 47 defenders – more than any other player in the Premiership.
Saracens are already resigned to relegation after breaking the salary cap while Sale are in third place just four points behind leaders Exeter, the team they beat 22-19 at Sandy Park in their last league fixture. Van Rensburg was cited for a big tackle on Exeter’s Gareth Steenson and despite being cleared he had to wait for the verdict after an appeal against the ruling by the Rugby Football Union.
He was again found not guilty and lines up against Saracens, the team that showed Sale the value of a strong South African in the ranks.
Besides van Rensburg, the Sale squad now features the South African rugby talents of skipper Jono Ross, the three du Preez brothers Rob, Dan and Jean Luc, prop Coenie Oosthuizen, lock Lood de Jager, hooker Akker van der Merwe and mercurial scrumhalf Faf de Klerk who is expected back from his knee ligament injury in two weeks.
If that wasn’t enough to make van Rensburg feel at home, his brother Tiaan has joined the Manchester police force after transferring from Glasgow.
Van Rensburg, whose only cap came against Wales in 2016, is acutely aware of the role Sale played in reviving de Klerk’s test career with the scrumhalf and de Jager having helped the Springboks win the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan by defeating England, featuring teammate Tom Curry, in the final.