The beauty, and pity about the Springbok squad at the moment and their management staff, is that once you are in, they invest in you heavily – but if you are on the outside, it is damn tough to break into the squad.
This is something that Ryan Kanowski hopefully takes to heart in the lead up to what will be in my mind, his most important test of his career.
If I was Kanko’s mentor or mental coach I would point out two instances or names to him from the 2009 season, Morne Steyn and Heinrich Brussow.
Both players initially not considered the best in their position but through some rather emphatic performances they managed to unseat the incumbents that went before them.
It is not strange Kankowski had to wait for so long for his break, it has been well documented on just how strong South Africa and Springbok rugby is in the loose-forward department and in 10 or 15 years from now, each one of us will be able to name at least 5 high quality players that never quite made it to top honours. Not because of their ability, but simply because of the quality the Springboks we have available in the current generation of players.
Kanko now has opportunity to determine himself whether he will fall under the category of the ‘might have been’s’, or the category of those who played in the Springboks’ most successful of era’s in its rich history.
I have personally expressed my doubt about Kanko’s ability or make up to get to the absolute top, but hell if we look at the class of players we are comparing him too then it is almost like debating whether Einstein or Newton was the best scientists in the history of mankind!
To my mind Kanko could not have asked for a better time to prove his worth.
He will be playing with the best the Springboks have on offer at the moment (no second string experimental sides) with the prospect of closing out the most memorable year in Springbok history by recording a win in France and Ireland – two teams that have been the Boks’ hoodoo teams in the recent past when playing away from home.
It is true that Kanko did not enjoy the most memorable of Super 14’s in 2009, but that simply comes down to the inability in my personal view of playing him in a well balanced trio where his strengths can be amplified.
This Friday Kanko will be playing with the best tight 5 in front of him he could hope for, in addition to being partnered in the loose-trio department by one of the best deck players of 2009 and a monster ball carrying Schalk Burger whose work rate around the park is unmatched in modern rugby in my opinion.
This to me will free Kanko up to do what he does best, play a classic 8th man role from the back of the pack and also allow him the freedom to hit the gaps and run in space that the hard working forwards should create for him.
If Kanko fails in the next two tests, he would be hard pressed to blame anyone but himself.
But something tells me however, that the most nervous man in the world come this Friday and two weeks from now against Ireland, would be a certain individual sitting in Pretoria watching from his couch and wondering if he would ever be able to wrestle his jersey away from the man from the Sharks.Tweet