Recently arrived in Dijon, Jody Jenneker used to play for the Province of Natal Sharks (South Africa). DIJON-SPORTnews.fr wanted to learn more about this 27 year old South hooker. He gave us his impression about his first game in Dijon.
DIJON-SPORTnews.fr: Jody, you played your first game against Saint-Etienne (see the article), what’s your first impression?
Jody Jenneker: “My first impression was that these guys are pretty big for this level, because back home the lower the division the smaller the players are! That was not going to get in the way of the job we had to do. “
DSn: How long did you play? What position?
JJ: “I came on at half time, and I played the full 40 minutes at hooker.”
DSn: What about the global level of the game, is that different from South Africa ?
JJ: “Before joining Dijon, the level of rugby I played was faster and more physical, so it’s better for me because I can do and achieve more on the field for my team because of the different intensity.”
DSn: The communication couldn’t be easy for you, how was it during the game?
JJ: “I managed to cope very well on the field and understood because we have been putting in all the hard work during the practices, and it reflects on the field. The players and coaching staff have been very accommodating to me not being a French speaker, so their help makes me understand what I need to know and what we need to achieve on the field.”
DSn: Did you do the same tackles against Saint-Etienne that you did at the training?
JJ: “Defense is what I enjoy most about rugby: Getting involved and making big tackles. Unfortunately the way the game went, it did not give me the opportunity to do so. The season hasn’t started so I hope I get to have a lot of them!”
DSn: What about scrums, how was it?
JJ: “Scrums started off a little shaky due to it being only our first game together, but as the game went, it got much better. The pack got fired up 5 meters from their line, then we pushed them over their try line which resulted in us getting a penalty try. All the forwards were great on the day and were patient to the new combinations.”
DSn: South Africa rugby is known to be very tough on rucks! What about rucks against Saint-Etienne?
JJ: “I expected much more of a physical presence from Saint-Etienne looking at their size than what we felt. We were much fitter on the day and wanted to play a fast game, but slow ball in the rucks didn’t allow that. Just some technical stuff that I’m pretty sure the coaches will work on.”
DSn: What about the referee?
JJ: “The referee… what can one say? He’s never the favorite person on the field (laughing)!! He wasn’t bad! He was pretty fair but made some mistakes, so did all of us on that day.”
In South Africa, the hooker played with famous players such as John Smit, BJ Botha, AJ Venter or Ryan Kankowski with Natal Sharks. For sure, Jody Jenneker will render all his experience for the team. He will probably be the main attraction on Stade Dijonnais field this season. Jenneker will bring a plus in physical intensity, a skill “made in South Africa”!