Northampton Saints’ flyer Cobus Reinach might have had to wait four years to don his country’s jersey again, but when the chance to feature for South Africa came, the scrum-half wasted no time making his mark.
After linking up with the Springboks for their Rugby World Cup training camp ahead of the competition getting underway in late September, Reinach not only added an eleventh cap to his name last Saturday, but scored a try just minutes after entering the action.
Scooping both the Players’ Player and Supporters’ Player of the Season at Saints – as well as claiming his spot in the BT Sport Dream Team – it was no surprise that Rassie Erasmus’ call came for Reinach.
"I nearly wanted to cry when we stood there at the start on Saturday, singing the national anthem."Cobus Reinach
And the scrum-half said he was overcome with emotion to have the opportunity to turn out for his country once again.
“Getting a Bok game and scoring a try after four years since my last appearance is a long time,” said Reinach.
“I nearly wanted to cry when we stood there at the start on Saturday, singing the national anthem. Getting the try was the cherry on top.
“What happened in 2015 was a big disappointment, but in a career, there are always going to be ups and downs, and I wasn’t selected; it happens to all players.”
And now the 29-year-old – who scored 17 tries in his 30 appearances for Saints last season to finish as both Saints’ and the Gallagher Premiership’s top try-scorer – credits his recall to his experience in Northampton and believes making the move was one of the best things that could have happened to him.
He added: “I took a step back, going overseas, out of my comfort zone, and I had to work harder than before. I didn’t know the players, the structures and other things. But I do feel though I’m growing as a player [in Northampton].
“I also knew that if the opportunity came around for me to play for the Boks again, I needed to be ready. It was a long fight [to get back into the South Africa side], but it’s even more special now that I am.”