Exciting Namibian-born Paul Roos centre / fullback Jurenzo Julius came off the bench to play his first match of 2022 and proved exactly why Cape school rugby gurus have been talking him up as hot property.
He delivered a memorable tackle-busting performance to help the Maroon Machine fight back from a dead-and-buried looking 7-31 deficit at half-time to claim a 38-38 draw against a highly rated Bishops 1st XV. The last 14-points of the comeback being scored in the last ten minutes.
His first touch of the ball in the 39th minute set the tone for big things to come as he backed himself to take the outside gap and had the strength to withstand four would-be tackles before providing the try-assist inside pass to effective left wing Christiaan Brandt, to make it 12-31.
Next up Julius made a Hail Mary long pass to his left to acres of space where Paul Roos then capitalised on the working area and finish via flyhalf Reuben Noble in the left corner, making it 17-31.
Julius’ effort stole the show but Bishop’s fullback Gilermo Mentoe was a serious candidate for player of the match, as he also made mince-meat of defenders efforts to deal with his straight-line speed, a factor which allowed Bishops to go 38-17 up.
Then in the 54th minute Julius collected a pass near the opposition 22 and although his immediate line was clear, the Bishops defence was organised and sandwiched him, only to fall off on both sides due to the teenager’s immense strength on his feet.
With the kick, the Bishops’ lead was reduced to 38-24 and the Maroons’ forwards then played a bigger part as they scored the remaining two tries to complete the turnaround.
Julius who’s late start to the season was due to a injury picked up during the athletics season, has the broad build, power factor and explosive pace resembling that of a backline player of Pacific Island descent. He is however a Namibian of birth and even though he is a shoo-in for main of the two Western Province Craven Week teams, if his citizenship status has not changed, he will not be in line for SA Schools selection.
The process to gain citizenship has been known to take up to 14-years.