One on One with Jesse Kriel

Mon, 23/07/2012 - 19:19

Jesse Kriel, the Maritzburg 1st team fullback who’s been setting the high school rugby scene ablaze with his power runs and composure under the ball, chats with High School Sports Magazine’s Sazi Luke about signing with the Bulls, family, and the high school rugby scene today.

HSSM:  So when did you start playing school boy rugby?
Jesse Kriel:  Not too sure, around grade 4 grade 5, somewhere there.
HSSM: And when was it that you started taking it seriously?
Jesse Kriel: It was in grade 8 when I arrived at Maritzburg College and received a rugby scholarship.

HSSM: I hear you have a twin brother.
Jesse: Ja that’s true, we both come to college on a rugby scholarship
HSSM: So what type of relationship do guys have?

“My dad passed away when I was 9”

Jesse: We have a close relationship, and are very competitive with each other which is also a driving force for us.
HSSM: Are you guys a support system for each other on and off the field?
Jesse: Ja… big time, we are each other’s biggest support system.
HSSM: Since you guys are twin brothers people would assume there are a lot of similarities, is that the case for on the field as well?
Jesse: Hahaha! No hey, firstly he is a bit bigger than me at 105kg, and much faster. He actually won the 100m here.

HSSM:  So who would you say has been your biggest influence your school boy rugby career?
Jesse: It would definitely have to be Ryan Strudwick and Steve Botha, my coaches here at College. They have had a huge hand in my rugby career, and Mario in the gym with programmes and my diet.
HSSM: In what way have they been an influence?
Jesse: They played father figure roles in my life on and off the field.
HSSM: And how has the death of your father impacted your life and your rugby career?
Jesse: It has motivated me and has been a driving force for both me and my brother. We got tattoos of him tattooed on the same place.

“Ya, both me and my brother have signed for the Bulls”

HSSM: So how many 1st XV team caps have you had?
Jesse: Yoh... haha I don’t even know, but I have been playing since grade 11.
HSSM: So what’s your take on the rugby setup at College?
Jesse: Since Mr. Strudwick and Mr. Botha came in it’s been very professional, especially with Mr Strudwick returning from coaching with the sharks.

HSSM: There have been rumours that both you and your brother have signed for the bulls, can you confirm that?
Jesse: Hahahaha… Ya, both me and my brother have signed for the Bulls. We actually signed with them when we were playing u16 on a pre-contract.
HSSM: So why the Bulls, and not the Sharks who are from your home province.
Jesse:   [The Bulls] approached us early when we were playing u16 rugby, and since then they have been very good to us, giving us guidance and making available all their professional facilities and always being a phone call away.

“I hate losing”

HSSM: When did you feel you had a chance at a professional career?
Jesse: It was when the Bulls approached both me and my brother, and started making us believe that we could go somewhere with our rugby and that it was only up to how hard we worked.
HSSM: Didn’t that put pressure on you, since you were only 16, and a big rugby franchise had invested in you?
Jesse: No, not really. That just made me realize that I had to work harder, and I have always performed well under pressure.

“Ja, it is the Bulls, but the Sharks are a close second”

HSSM: What has been your biggest setback so far in your school boy rugby career?
Jesse: It has to be my injury last season, it took me out for 6 week. Luckily it was only at the beginning of the season.

HSSM: So who’s your favourite SA rugby team?
Jesse: Hahahaha! No comment...
HSSM: You know you have to say the Bulls since you are signed with them haha.
Jesse: Haahahaha! Ja it is the Bulls, but the Sharks are a close second!

“No hey, no special lady in my life”

HSSM: Besides rugby what other sports do you enjoy?
Jesse: I played u14 and u15A cricket, but had to quit at u16 level to fully commit to rugby.
HSSM: What else do you do in your spare time?
Jesse: Gym hey, me and my brother spend a lot of time there. Besides there is not much to do at the B.E. (boarding establishment), especially when you are in Pietermaritzburg.
HSSM: So is there any special lady in your life?
Jesse: Hahahaha… No hey, no special lady in my life, I’m too busy during the rugby season.

HSSM: And finally, what is your take that school boy rugby is starting to become semi-professional because of all the money being pumped into it.
Jesse: I think it’s good; it’s the evolution of sports at school level. But it can get too much with all the money, and when schools start bringing in players in grade 11, it kind of kills the team gelling and players don’t play for the jersey anymore.
HSSM: Jesse thank you so much, High School Sports Magazine will be excitedly following both you and your brother’s progress.
Jesse: Appreciate it, thank you so much. ᴥ

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Submitted by Pieter vd Berg (not verified) on

That is very refreshing to know that the bulls will be getting awesome new talent in!! Welcome to the Bulls family Jessie!! We trust you and your brother will have a VERY succesfull career at the bulls!!!

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