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Pacy Harold Vorster now the centre of attention after Lions comeback

30 July 2017 - 00:00 By LIAM DEL CARME

He has lost almost two years of his short career to injury, but Harold Vorster is rapidly making up ground.
In fact, Johan Ackermann, his coach at the Lions, believes were it not for the setbacks the inside centre suffered in 2015 and last year, the 23-year-old's name might well have been in lights.
"Last year, he got injured again when we played the [Waikato] Chiefs and that really stunted his progress," Ackermann recalled of Vorster's anterior cruciate ligament injury to the same knee in consecutive years.
This season Vorster, in full awareness and embrace of the moment, has seized his opportunities. His forceful forays into enemy territory and momentum-stunting defence have not gone unnoticed.
"I think he has Springbok qualities," said Ackermann. "He's big, strong, his defence is really good and he has the knack of spotting gaps."
In a wider context, Vorster also spotted the void left by Rohan Janse van Rensburg, who also yielded to a knee injury. Janse van Rensburg, who debuted for the Boks last year against Ireland, has recovered from the injury suffered in April, but couldn't dislodge Vorster from his starting position in the Lions' Super Rugby quarterfinal and semifinal matches.
Vorster explained that his time on the sidelines has made him more aware of the need to maximise his time on the field.
"I learnt a lot in that period. I grew a lot as a person. I got stronger. That's why you have to take every day as it comes. You have to give everything, because it is just borrowed to you. It is a great journey thus far," he said.
I believe God has a plan
"You get stronger mentally. It is a very big mental battle. When you are out for that long and you can't even practise, you realise what a privilege it is to run and practise every day."When you come back you do so with more hunger. You miss it."
Vorster is philosophical about his injuries. "I believe God has a plan with everyone. I'm fortunate this season. Every day is borrowed and you have to make the most of it. The guys in the team make it easier."
Centre on national team radar
That particularly applies to the players who operate either side of him. Elton Jantjies and Lionel Mapoe are everything but predictable and Vorster has brought clarity to a dense channel.
He said: "I'm privileged to play in between them. They are so experienced. I learn a lot from them. When they do things off the cuff, that is the time we back each other."
Ackermann, who coached the South Africa A side in which Vorster featured this year, believes the versatile centre is blipping stronger on the national team radar. "We always believed that he has the physical potential and he was exceptional in 2014.
"But the competition is fierce. With Jan Serfontein leaving, maybe in future that can open a door for him. Jan was good against the French, Rohan Janse van Rensburg was good last year," said Ackermann.
"I think had Harold played those two seasons when he was injured the door might have opened for him already."..

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