Jaco Taute proud of Munster’s passion play

There were so many memorable moments during Saturday’s game at Thomond Park that it would be easy to overlook Jaco Taute’s try and the ecstatic manner in which he showed how much it meant to him, clutching the Munster logo on his jersey and exultantly saluting the crowd.
Jaco Taute proud of Munster’s passion play

The former Springbok was only six weeks in the province but had already realised the fantastic opportunity opening up before him. He scored Munster’s second try against Leinster and then came the beauty against Glasgow that ensured him a special place in the hearts of the Red Army.

“I only knew Axel for about a month-and-a-half but from the first moment I had any interaction with him, I could sense the pride and the passion he had for this place and for this community,” said Taute.

“He was absolutely driven and I could sense that if I got the opportunity to play, I had better do the jersey justice. And that’s an amazing feeling because you get the sense that you are playing for something bigger than yourself.

“After his passing, it was very tough. As I didn’t know Axel that long, I just wanted to be a supportive role for the boys. We got through that week and we were lucky to have the opportunity to pay tribute to him in the way that was fitting at Thomond Park and to play for him and the way he wanted us to play.

“The 80 minutes flew past so quickly, it was an unbelievable experience. The crowd was insane. I have never experienced anything like it.”

Former Munster centre and South Africa captain Jean de Villiers had prepared Taute for the experience that awaited in Munster.

“I had only heard the rumours about Thomond Park, only seen videos, but it was actually amazing,” he said.

“Jean de Villers and I are good mates and he told me back in South Africa how the supporters lift you up and carry you throughout the game. If you don’t relish that you shouldn’t play the game, it was amazing and to score was a dream come through. It is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.

“What Anthony was all about was leaving a legacy and all we can do is try to replicate that, week in, week out.”

Taute is contracted to Munster until January 1 but considering his outstanding contribution so far as a replacement for long-term injury victim Francis Saili, his contract could be extended beyond that date.

Director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has been in contact with David Nucifora, the IRFU boss where contracts are concerned, about this and other squad issues.

“I’ve known about Munster since I was a little boy, watching them play in the Heineken Cup,”, said 25-year-old Taute, a powerfully built (6ft 3in, 15st 8lbs) centre.

“I’ve known about the club and it’s always looked like a special place to me, a place full of pride and a little like where I was born and raised in Springs outside Johannesburg. So it is very cool to be here, it is quite a special occasion for me and I’m very grateful and very privileged to be here and able to play.

“The three Springbok caps were the pinnacle of my career. They came in the 2012 Rugby Championship and against Ireland. That was the day Ireland wore a special commemorative black jersey at the Aviva and we won 16-12.”

Taute doesn’t dismiss the possibility of once again pulling on the famous Springbok jersey but for now, he said: “At the moment, given it is short-term, I would like to take every opportunity in the red jersey to give my utmost best and to play and serve the jersey with the pride and the passion it deserves.”

Not a single Munster man or woman could have put it better.

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