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London Irish’s Benhard Janse van Rensburg returns to action after kitchen knife accident



enhard Janse van Rensburg knows all about slicing through opposition defences, but London’s Irish center might just be avoiding the kitchen knives for a while.

The Exiles star is still getting out of trouble on the rugby pitch, but stepped straight into an exposed slide in a recent domestic accident.

Van Rensburg can now laugh at the incident that left him with five stitches in his foot, but the 25-year-old was in no laughing mood at the start of December.

The former Sharks midfielder missed the Irishman’s 39-17 win over Newcastle on December 3 after involuntarily cutting his foot at home.

Thankfully back in action a week later, Van Rensburg now hopes to limit knife references to attacking-based rugby metaphors.

“My partner and I were cleaning up the kitchen and it was probably the worst accident I’ve ever had,” Van Rensburg said. “There were knives in a basket, I didn’t know it was on the floor and I stepped on one of the knives in the basket. I have five or six stitches.

“They said I could try to play, maybe give him an injection to play. But it was a little too uncomfortable to walk on. Everything is healed now, luckily I haven’t had any infection and it’s been 100% for a while.

“I definitely did more than laugh at the time, but looking back now, it’s lucky to be able to laugh.”

The Irishman will host Bristol at the Gtech Community Stadium on Sunday, aiming to return to winning ways in the Premiership.

The Exiles trailed 8-6 in a New Year’s Eve defeat at Gloucester but can still rejoice in a 29-20 victory over runaway leaders Saracens on December 23.

Van Rensburg left his native South Africa for life and rugby adventures in 2021, starting with Japan’s NEC Green Rockets before landing a quick landing at London Irish.

The South African Under-20 cap grew up on a maize and cattle farm in Pretoria, and may feel stuck trying to beat traffic on his journey to and from Surbiton.

But Irish’s live attacking approach makes him feel right at home, with boss Declan Kidney starting to make the most of a talented group.

“As a farm boy, it’s very crowded here,” Van Rensburg said. “Sitting in traffic gets a bit tiring for me, I’m used to driving on the open road and if you see even one car you get excited.

“It’s an amazing experience at Irish, the type of rugby we play is one of the reasons I decided to come here. It’s exciting, it’s the style I want to play and I really like it.

South Africa’s seemingly endless supply of major talent leaves some top away players watching when it comes to the Springboks, including Van Rensburg.

But the versatile backline director will never let his international ambitions cloud his judgment on his career.

“It’s every player’s dream to play for your country, but I would never see it as a failure if I didn’t one day end up playing for the Springboks,” he said. “I would love to play for South Africa, but I have been blessed in my career.

“I love my time now. You can’t play forever, so one day when I look back I’ll see it as a success.

Professional rugby cut short Van Rensburg’s early attempts to pursue an accounting degree, but he now finds himself in the final stages of an online course with Unisa University in South Africa.

“I’m starting to get a little tired of studying! I started right after school, but then I went to the Sharks and quit,” he said. “So I had to start all over again, and I feel like I already deserve the degree! I hope I finish this year.

“It’s a challenge in a different sense from rugby, nobody is forcing me to do it so it’s a bit on me. I also love farming, so I will definitely go back to farming one day, even if it’s 10 or 20 years after rugby.

To book tickets for the London Irish Gallagher Premiership home game against Bristol on Sunday, Click here.

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