A mutual understanding of each other’s game is a key requirement for all good centre partnerships. Just ask Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith or Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy. But, as twin brothers born just three minutes apart, South Africa Under 20 midfield duo Dan and Jesse Kriel take telepathy onto another level.
On the eve of Friday’s JWC 2014 final, Dan and Jesse, best mates on and off the pitch, took time out to talk to Total Rugby about the special bond they share.
“Jess and I have been together our whole lives, we have been together since we were born,” said Dan, who was an unused replacement in last Sunday’s 32-25 win over New Zealand. “So, yeah, we know each other very well. He is my best friend and we do everything together. It’s awesome having a twin brother."
Jesse, who has scored three tries in as many starts at JWC 2014, added: “I think there is an understanding between us, like now and again if a pass gets thrown or something I just hope that he is there - or I kind of know that he is there – so yeah it does help a bit.”
Despite the obviously similarities – they play at the Blue Bulls as well as sharing the same position, both Jesse and Dan point out there are differences too.
“I think Jesse is more of the serious one out of the two of us,” joked Dan, who at 103kg and 1.93m is considerably bigger than his brother. “He is three minutes older so he does take things a bit more seriously than I do.”
Jesse, though, claims to be faster and stronger. “He is definitely bigger (by 8kgs), as you can see. But I think I am faster, although he won’t admit it, and I think I am a bit stronger in the gym than him.”
On Friday that rivalry will be put to one side when they line up in midfield together for South Africa against England in what will be the biggest match of their embryonic careers.
This week’s Total Rugby TV show features: June International Test reaction and footage, profiles of France hard man Nicolas Mas and Canada's small but perfectly formed scrum half Phil Mack and an interview with globe-trotting former Fiji star Nicky Little – all available to WATCH HERE>>