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Jordi Viljoen makes strong debut for the Hurricanes

The Hurricanes welcomed a new player into the DHL Super Rugby Pacific (SRP) fold last Friday, with Jordi Viljoen making a fantastic debut against the Western Force in Perth.

The livewire halfback – who started the match in the absence of injured fellow halfbacks TJ Perenara and Richard Judd, while Cam Roigard came off the bench – had a night to remember, taking the opportunity with both hands to show the rugby world what he is capable of, while scoring a try in the process.

The 20-year-old, who became Hurricane No. 311, said the experience of playing SRP was “unreal”.

“I feel extremely blessed and grateful that the coaches gave me the opportunity to play, but also to trust me enough to start a game on debut. You always want to do well in your first game and to get a try is a bonus. But really, I was just in the right place at the right time finishing off a great try set up by Rubes (Ruben Love) and Moorbs (Josh Moorby), but I am still really proud.”

Viljoen – who is with the Hurricanes this year as a Wider Training Group squad member, after joining the club last year on a National Development Contract (NDC) – said having three experienced halfbacks take him under their wings at the Hurricanes has helped his game improve immensely.

“It’s been amazing and healthy for me having people like TJ, Juddy (Richard Judd) and Cam around to grow off,” he said.

“Right now, I am just trying to learn as much as I can, I ask a lot of questions, and they are always there to help me. The great thing is we all have the same common goal and that is to win a comp for the club.”

Viljoen is not the only Viljoen to have set foot on the rugby field in the halfback position. His grandfather, Joachim Frederick Viljoen was capped six times for the Springboks at halfback in the 1970s, while his father, Joggie Viljoen represented the Hurricanes in 2000 as a halfback. He also played five (non-test) matches for the Springboks in 1996. 

Joggie said he couldn’t be prouder of his son and that the support for him has been amazing.

“I’m immensely proud,” he said.

“I had people from all over the world telling me they watched the game. A lot of people in South Africa, including family, watched the game and the number of messages I got was unreal. It’s unbelievable, and they’re all backing the Hurricanes so it’s great the team is getting all that support from outside of the region.

“I really thought because of the amazing halfbacks they have at the Hurricanes it would be hard for him to get in, but he trained really hard, kept the faith, got his chance and did really well, and obviously got a meat pie too. So, I am a very proud dad, and he deserves everything he gets.”

 

The Hurricanes play the Queensland Reds this Sunday, 3 March, at AAMI Park in Melbourne, in Round Two (Super Round) of DHL Super Rugby Pacific. Kick-off: 6.30pm (NZDT).

The following week, on Saturday 9 March, the Hurricanes and Hurricanes Poua will play their first home matches for the season in a double-header at Sky Stadium!

Saturday 9 March – Sky Stadium

Sky Super Rugby Aupiki Round Two

Hurricanes Poua v Matutū – Kick-off: 4.35pm.

DHL Sky Super Rugby Pacific Round Three

Hurricanes v Blues – Kick-off: 7.05pm.

 

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