The South African has become a key member of the Montpellier team, writes Jon Cardinelli

Who is Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg: Ten things you should know about the lock 

Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg has established himself as an important figure at Montpellier since 2016 and earned a South Africa call-up in 2021. Here’s the lowdown on the big second-row…

Ten things you should know about Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg

1. Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg – or Nico for short – was born on 6 May 1994.

2. Janse van Rensburg went to Afrikaanse Hoer Seunskool in Pretoria – better known in local circles as ‘Affies’.

He always seemed destined to make the short journey down the road to the Bulls’ HQ at Loftus Versfeld.

3. The 6ft 7in (2m), 18st 2lb (115kg) lock represented the Blue Bulls at U16 and U18 national tournaments.

4. Janse van Rensburg was selected for South African Schools in 2012, and for the South African U20 side that travelled to the Junior World Championship in 2014.

The latter group included future Springboks such as Handré Pollard, Jesse Kriel and Thomas du Toit, as well as Jean-Luc and Dan du Preez.

Duhan van der Merwe – who has gone on to represent Scotland and more recently the British & Irish Lions – also played for that particular SA U20 team.

5. While Janse van Rensburg was part of the Blue Bulls senior squad between 2014 and 2016, he did not enjoy much game time during that period.

Jake White, who was coaching Montpellier at that stage, contacted the player and offered him an opportunity at the French club in 2016.

6. Paul Willemse also began his professional career in Gauteng, playing for the Lions and Bulls before moving to France and eventually qualifying for the national team.

Willemse and Janse van Rensburg were team-mates for a brief period in Pretoria – in 2014. Both men then became regulars in the Montpellier second row.

7. Janse van Rensburg has played No 4 lock and blindside flank during his spell at Montpellier.

8. In May 2021, Janse van Rensburg was part of the Montpellier side that beat Leicester to win the European Challenge Cup.

9. Janse van Rensburg was included in the Springbok squad for the British & Irish Lions 2021 series as second- and back-row cover.

As well as his ability to play lock and flank, the versatile forward also has the ability to call the lineouts.

10. Janse van Rensburg’s current contract with Montpellier will expire in 2022. He hasn’t ruled out a return to South Africa.

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