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JOHANNESBURG — It’s incredible to think that only four years ago, Aphiwe Dyantyi wasn’t taking rugby terribly seriously. The formula for achieving top honours usually involves being among the top performers at one of the top rugby schools. Dyantyi couldn’t even make it into the first XV at Dale College Boys’ High School in East London. He was told he was too small. When he got to the University of Johannesburg, he concentrated on his studies for a B.Com degree. But a friend phoned him up and persuaded him to pick up his boots. Within four years, he had progressed from inter-residence rugby to Varsity Cup to Lions U21 to Lions Super Rugby and to the Springboks. He scored on his Super Rugby debut for the Lions against the Sharks. He repeated the feat on debut for the Springboks against England. Coach Rassie Erasmus described him as having the X-Factor. Even before he had selected Dyantyi for his squad to take on England, Erasmus said: “There’s a hunger to be better, there’s a work ethic, and there’s intelligence. He’s a smart young man with a mind to go with the physical attributes.” They aren’t calling him too small to play rugby any longer. – David O’Sullivan
From SA Rugby
Springbok wing Aphiwe Dyantyi has been nominated as one of three candidates for World Rugby’s Breakthrough Player of the Year Award for 2018.
There are three countries represented in the nominees for the 2018 award, in association with Tudor. The other nominees for this prestigious award, now in its fourth year, are Ireland winger Jordan Larmour and New Zealand prop Karl Tu’inukuafe.
The previous winners of the award are New Zealand’s RWC 2015 winner Nehe Milner-Skudder, England forward Maro Itoje and All Blacks winger Rieko Ioane.
The 24-year-old Dyantyi marked his Springbok debut with a try against England in June and hasn’t looked back, starting in nine of South Africa’s Tests in 2018 and scoring six tries, including braces against Argentina and in the win over world champions New Zealand in Wellington.
Blessed with pace and power, Dyantyi, who only made his Vodacom Super Rugby debut earlier this year in the colours of the Emirates Lions, was the joint top try-scorer in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship with five, as South Africa finished as runners-up.
To be eligible for this award, players must have played less than one year of senior international rugby, with former internationals Jamie Heaslip, Felipe Contepomi and Phaidra Knight sitting alongside members of the media on the panel that selects the shortlist.
The winner will be revealed at the World Rugby Awards, which take place at the Salle des Etoiles in Monte Carlo on 25 November.
Can I just say the following: With Aphiwe Dyantyi, S’bu Nkosi and Willie le Roux the Boks have the most exciting back three in world rugby. And yes, this includes the Kiwis.
— Jacques Maree (@JacquesMaree73) October 27, 2018
World Rugby Chair Bill Beaumont said: “The World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year award recognises the most exciting talent to burst onto the international 15s or sevens stage during the year and highlights the ‘ones to watch’.
“There were several outstanding candidates and the process of whittling the selection down to a shortlist was tough for the panel. We have three outstanding candidates, who would be worthy recipients of this prestigious award.”
This is one of 13 categories of awards, including the World Rugby Men’s and Women’s 15s Players of the Year, World Rugby Team of the Year, World Rugby Men’s and Women’s Sevens Players of the Year and Award for Character.
For more details on the panel members for each of the World Rugby Awards, visit www.worldrugby.org/awards/voting-panel. For more information on the World Rugby Awards, visit www.worldrugby.org/awards.
Previous World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year Award winners:
2017 – Rieko Ioane (New Zealand)
2016 – Maro Itoje (England)
2015 – Nehe Milner-Skudder (New Zealand)
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