Jason Jenkins has the soft hands, hard carries to ignite Sharks pack

Jason Jenkins, seen here in action for Leinster against the Sharks last year, is reportedly joining the Durban side next season. Photo: BackpagePix

Jason Jenkins, seen here in action for Leinster against the Sharks last year, is reportedly joining the Durban side next season. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Feb 22, 2024


The player roster at the Sharks is showing movement in both directions with the news that one-cap Springbok Jason Jenkins is set to come to Durban, while current locks Hyron Andrews and Le Roux Roets are reportedly headed for England.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that former Shark André Esterhuizen is set to return to Kings Park from Harlequins, and Bok veteran Trevor Nyakane is to have a swansong in Durban as well.

Closer to home, two Lions players – Emmanuel Tshituka and Jordan Hendrikse – are en route to the Sharks, where they will have family reunions.

Emmanuel is expected to move to No 8, with brother Vincent on the flank in the loose trio, while Jordan and Jaden Hendrikse will give the flyhalf-scrumhalf link a brotherly bond.

Regarding the change in lock stocks, the following news has come from Manchester’s Sale Sharks: “Hyron Andrews, on a short-term deal, will act as cover for Jonny Hill and Dan du Preez.

“His arrival will pave the way for teammate Le Roux Roets, who is moving from Durban to Manchester this summer on a longer deal and at a later date.

“Second-row enforcer Roets will replace Cobus Wiese, who recently confirmed that he is to join the Bulls.”

In return, the Sharks took back former Bok prop Coenie Oosthuizen from Sale earlier this season.

It is quite a mountain of Bok beef the Sharks are building up – in addition to Oosthuizen at prop, they already have Ox Nche and Vincent Koch, and Nyakane will join when the French season is over for Racing 92.

Last weekend, Bongi Mbonambi played his first rugby for the Sharks since the World Cup, and observing from the stands was the resting Eben Etzebeth.

Add in Jenkins when he finishes at Leinster, and the Sharks will have a world-class pack if and when John Plumtree can get them on the park at the same time.

There is an agreement among all who have coached Jenkins that there is a lot more to come from him.

As a youngster at the Bulls, where he partnered RG Snyman, he was expected to go on to great things, but he has been unfortunate to have played in an era where the Boks have so many great locks.

Still, Leo Cullen at Leinster and Johann van Graan – previously of the Bulls, Springboks and Munster, and now in charge at Bath – say that if the 28-year-old can stay injury-free, he can take the world by storm.

Van Graan said of Jenkins: “Jason is a player who has abilities that few in world rugby possess.

“He is one of the few players in World Rugby that you can play at four, five, six and eight — his ball-carrying abilities stand out.

“He has incredibly soft hands in contact. He can carry hard, but can also get a ball out in contact.

“Defensively, he is very strong. He is one of the few players that are over 2m in world rugby that can poach as well. That is a strength.

“He can jump and contest anywhere in the line-out. One thing few people know is how good he is at the maul, on both sides of the ball.

“If you look at Leinster’s maul, at the front, all the weight and power comes through him, and they are one of the best in Europe.”

Jenkins’ sole cap for the Boks was in the ill-fated friendly against Wales in Washington in 2018. He will be hoping that a move to the Sharks can help ignite his international career.