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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Canan Moodie wants to ‘fire a shot’ for Springboks in Rugby World Cup race

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Speedster Canan Moodie is not a nervous wreck ahead of the Springboks’ World Cup squad announcement, but he rather wants to enjoy every moment he plays in the green and gold.

This Saturday against Argentina in Buenos Aires (9.10pm kickoff) will not be any different, although he will get a final chance to show Bok coach Jacques Nienaber why he should be part of the outside backs heading to France to defend the Webb Ellis Cup.

The competition among the wings in the national team is providing plenty of sparks, and it’s a hot topic at the moment as Moodie, along with his wing mate this weekend, Makazole Mapimpi, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Cheslin Kolbe are all in a foot race to see who makes the squad.

If Moodie is selected, the 20-year-old will become one of the youngest players to represent South Africa at the World Cup.

But for now, his sole focus is to do well on Saturday at the Estadio Velez Sarsfield and use the chance given to him.

“What happens, happens,” the Paarl-born No 14 said from the Argentinian capital yesterday.

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“Four years ago, when they won the World Cup, I was still at school. So, just to be part of this now is really something special. Not just for me, but for my family too.

“I am just focusing on making the most of the opportunity I have this weekend.

“We have the opportunity to fire a shot to hopefully put our names in the squad. For me, I just want to use the opportunity to play.

“Fortunately for me, those guys (Arendse and Kolbe) played against them last weekend, so they had a bit of a feel.

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“And Kurt-Lee is here with us, and gave me some inside info on how they contest in the air, how their kicking game is structured.

“It’s helping me a lot in terms of my preparation for the week.”

With his 1.90m, 89kg frame, Moodie – who has five Test caps to his name and scored a superb try against the Wallabies in Australia last year – should be in a prime position to deal with the aerial assault should the Pumas decide to kick on him.

But he will hopefully also be able to show his ability with ball-in-hand, something Kolbe and Arendse could not really do last weekend after the Boks struggled to create space for the two hot-steppers.

Moodie did well against Australia, especially in the air and on the attack, but had to sit out the last two Tests to make space for Kolbe, who starred against the All Blacks in Auckland and held his own against Argentina at Ellis Park last Saturday.

“Cheslin and Kurt-Lee are playing really well, and we all know what Mapimpi can do. It’s tough competition, but it also brings out the best in me,” the Bulls speedster said.

“Every guy is fighting for his position, and it’s my opportunity now, to show what I can do.

“It’s about using that opportunity and making the best of it.”

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