This promising young man made his Springbok debut in the 2019 Rugby Championship and his match winning tries against Australia and New Zealand went a long way to helping SA secure the title for the first time since 2009. He was then an integral member of the Springbok squad that secured SA’s historic 3rd RWC win in Japan in 2019. It’s safe to say that this year has been his breakthrough year as SA’s latest young rugby star, and he was even nominated for the prestigious ‘World Rugby breakthrough player of the year’ award. He’s made an immediate impact on our Springbok team and all eyes are set on this bright and talented star.
What were you like at school?
I would describe myself as someone who was always very quiet at school, completing my homework on time and who couldn’t wait to get onto the rugby field!
Who have been your role models?
My role models are obviously my parents, who gave me an un- believable upbringing. My role models in rugby are Faf de Klerk, Cobus Reinach and All Black Aaron Smit. While growing up I admired Welshman Mike Phillips a lot, and I was actually fortunate enough to replace him for one match at the Scarlets when we played the Cheetahs in a Pro14 game.
What makes you most passionate about rugby?
Rugby is my passion and I absolutely love to play the game. Although I am still young, I have made an unbelievable amount of friends just by playing the game. At school I played all kids of ball sports such as soccer, cricket and basketball in addition to rugby, but rugby has always been my first love.
How would you describe 2019?
I cannot describe in words the past 12 months. I am just so fortunate and blessed to have been given the opportunity to play for DHL Western Province, the DHL Stormers and the Springboks.
What lessons have you learnt in the last year?
I’ve learnt so much this year with the help of my coaches and my provincial and national team mates. They always encourage me to take it easy and just play and concentrate on my game and assure me that the rest will take care of itself.
What was your experience like in Japan?
Japan was such an amazing experience! The players, coaches and management staff were unbelievable as a group and we always supported and encouraged each other. The vibe inside the group was just so good and we all worked very hard, on and off the field, to make South Africa proud.
How would you rate Japan’s hosting of the World Cup?
Japan was outstanding as a host country. The facilities were world class and the people hosted us in such a superb fashion. The Japanese adopted the Springboks like we were their own there.
What did playing in the World Cup mean to you?
We could sense the groundswell of support back home. We played for all South Africans and the amount of messages of support we received during the tournament was unbelievable! With the clock up in the final, I had the opportunity to pass the ball to Handre Pollard, who kicked the ball high into the stands for the match to end. We were so happy and relieved to have won the RWC trophy. The reception back home was enormous and the trophy tour is something that I will never forget.
How do you enjoy spending your time off the field?
Away from the field I like to listen to music, my favourite artists being Chris Brown, Drake and Travis Scott. I also enjoy the company of my close friends and family and love to play Playstation whenever I get the chance!