“Samurai have a long and proud relationship with South African rugby and are delighted to be able to select these players in the squad.”
Terry Sands, Samurai International RFC
Young back rower Cornelius Jacobs and experienced centre Japie Nel join their club mate Wynand Pienaar in the Mourant Ozannes Samurai International team for the GFI HKFC 10s.
Nel played club rugby for Welkom Rovers in 2004 and 2005. In 2005, he was one of a number of club players included in a Griffons side that played against the Sharks in a pre-season match. This led to his inclusion in their squad for the 2005 Currie Cup competition and he made his first class debut for them in a qualifying round match against Griquas. He scored seven tries in the 2007 Currie Cup First Division season, including a hat-trick in their match against the Mighty Elephants, with Griffons coach, Harry Pienaar, calling Nel "devastating". He was also named the Griffons Back of the Year for 2007.
He joined Potchefstroom-based side the Leopards for three seasons between 2008 and 2010. Nel played in all the Leopards matches during the 2008 Currie Cup First Division season, but missed the final, which the Leopards lost to his former side the Griffons. However the Leopards bounced back to win the two-legged promotion/relegation matches, with Nel playing in one of the matches against the Falcons to earn the Leopards a spot in the Premier Division for 2009. Nel only made four appearances during that competition, but remained a regular in their Vodacom Cup side.
He returned to Welkom in 2011 to rejoin the Griffons, resuming where he left off by performing to such an extent that he was once again named the Griffons Back of the Year after the 2011 Currie Cup First Division season. In total, Nel played in excess of fifty matches for them during his second spell, averaging about one try every two matches. He was also a key member of their 2014 Currie Cup First Division-winning side. He played in the final and helped the Griffons win the match 23–21 to win their first trophy for six years.
Updated 13:35 - 31 Mar 2017 by Mark Dean