Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images
- RG Snyman admits he kept tabs on fellow Munster Jean Kleyn on his Bok debut just to make sure he wasn’t swayed by the occasion, but not to worry.
- Kleyn gives an excellent and varied performance, with Snyman noting the former’s famously calm.
- Meanwhile, Snyman has steadily pulled himself back into the thick of things and is now hoping to build a World Cup powerhouse.
When RG Snyman walked onto the field for Loftus’ emotional homecoming on Saturday, he was keen to check out Jean Kleyn.
The two became good friends as Munster teammates and proved an effective combination in helping the Irish heavyweights claim their long-awaited URC title.
Sneeman certainly didn’t doubt his second-row partner would make a good grip on his Springbok Test debut – four years after his previous appearance for Ireland – but he was still amazed by Cline’s ethereal calm during South Africa’s excellent 43-12 demolition of Australia Day Saturday.
“Honestly, he’s a classic JK. He’s so cool, calm and enthusiastic, even before the match starts,” said the smiling 2.06m.
“I kept looking at him because, obviously, it was a great fit for him, but there was no noticeable pressure at all.”
In the end, Kleyn delivered a season-packed 68-minute performance, ostensibly doing everything team management told him to do during setup.
He downplayed the urgency of claiming the World Cup, only expressed how privileged he was to be here, and said – ominously in hindsight – that he hadn’t had heightened expectations resting on his shoulders.
As a result, Cline was an all-around presence, proving as reliable a jumper as his skilled partner, Marvin Urey, while also catching an Australian throw, completing all his tackles, and winning turnover.
He served as a stand-up nine times and stood admirably in those crashes.
“Obviously, the way he played [on the night] He speaks for himself. That’s the way he plays and the way he plays the last few seasons.”
“It’s a well-deserved start for him and I’m really happy he took the opportunity so brilliantly.”
Stand-by captain Duane Vermeulen was similarly gruff.
“The effort and work rate from the guys has been amazing,” said the evergreen No. 8.
“A man like Jane, who has taken his first Test, has stolen two balls. It is good to see the men buy into our plan and carry it out.”
Meanwhile, Snyman played a more supportive role during his 27-minute stint as South Africa ran riot over their massive possession and territory in the closing stages of the second half.
However, he managed a fine off-load and beat two defenders from his two carries.
Did he stress about his body — long knee injuries sometimes seemed to threaten his career — and endure the rigors of the Test match?
“There was no big deal to that. There was no mention of me [having to look after myself a bit]. “I didn’t confirm to be honest,” said Snowman.
“The precision of our prep made it so easy and inviting to get back into prep that you don’t even think about your body at that point.
“I wasn’t nervous. It was great to be back at Loftus.”
For now, his personal game plan is to mirror the team’s overall goal: to stack it up step by step.
“Every game you miss, you sit in the side dying for a chance again. I want to go through it with everything I’ve got. I don’t have one second to take for granted anymore,” said Snowman.
“It’s a good win. There’s still a lot of work to do. We’re only playing one game at a time, which is especially important in my case because I just want to get back in the thick of things.”
Sunnyman is part of the 21-man squad that traveled to New Zealand on Sunday for next week’s clash with the All Blacks in Auckland.