SKIBBEREEN’S new South African import is keen to make his presence felt for his new club this season.
Raymond Jardine (21) must wait to make his first competitive debut for Skibbereen after missing last Sunday’s win against Old Christians in their opening game of the Munster Junior League Division 1 campaign.
Early training sessions have gone well, with the six foot two inch Springbok already relishing the physical nature of his new challenge.
‘I like running, tackling, the hard side of the game,’ Jardine explained.
‘The reason I’ve come to Skibbereen is I want to become a better player during my time here, by getting games and by playing in a competitive league.
‘Moving here will be good for my game because I am learning a different style of rugby, an Irish-style of rugby, and that will improve my all-round game.’
While Skibb have lost the talented Gavin Coombes – he is now involved in the Munster Rugby Academy – it’s hoped that Jardine can fill that void as he is big, strong and physical.
‘You need to be a physical player in junior rugby,’ Skibbereen manager John Hayes pointed out.
‘Raymond is a big unit, physically very strong and he’s a strong tackler – when he tackles you, you’ll feel it.
‘He has played a decent standard in South Africa and we’ve been impressed by what we’ve seen so far.’
Jardine, likely to feature at number six this season, moves to Skibbereen after several seasons spent playing with Broughton Park in Manchester, and before that he played his club rugby in his native South Africa with Durban Collegians and then with Griquas U21 in the Currie Cup, the latter regarded as South Africa’s premier domestic rugby competition.
Swapping South Africa for Manchester when he was only 19, and now moving to Skibbereen doesn’t faze this 21-year-old who, in his own words, just wants to play rugby.
Sharing an apartment with teammate Richie Byrne in Skibb, Jardine is already enjoying life in Skibb.
‘The people here are much nicer and much more friendly than they are in the big cities,’ he said, as he settles into a new culture.
‘I’ve played in Cape Town and Manchester, which are both big cities so coming to Skibbereen and West Cork is exciting for me – it’s a very different countryside to what I am used to.
‘It was the whole package that appealed to me – the chance to play rugby here and also get to know Ireland. It ticks all the boxes for me.’
Skibbereen rugby now hopes that Jardine will tick all their boxes too, as they look to build on last season’s County Cup win and seventh place Division 1 campaign.