After once being someone who only helped out in the koshuis league, former University of Johannesburg star Aphiwe Dyantyi has graduated to the highest level after being chosen for the Springbok squad at the weekend.
The Lions wing is part of a 43-man squad which will do duty in the June internationals against United States and England, and is sure to get a chance to show the skills he displayed in Super Rugby this season.
After matriculating from Dale in 2011, the 23-year-old said his main focus was on his studies when he attended UJ as a first-year in 2012.
“But then I was persuaded to help out in the koshuis league and suddenly I was being asked to turn out for the varsity U19 squad,” he said.
Under the wise counsel of UJ U19 coach Mac Masina and first-team mentor Werner Janse van Rensburg, Dyantyi decided to return to the game after being offered a sports bursary.
“As I was looking at the time for an academic bursary I thought this was a win-win situation. So I decided it could do no harm and gave it a go.”
The rest, as they say, is history and Dyantyi has steadily moved through the ranks, graduating from the Varsity Cup to become a key player for the Lions Super Rugby franchise this year.
The young star did pay special tribute to his family for their contribution to his success.
“Whatever my decisions have been, they have been there to back me and that has meant a lot to me during my career,” he said.
Janse van Rensburg said they were delighted with the recognition the talented young player had received, but said the pressure would be intense at the next level.
“He will have to be mentally strong because, while it’s one thing getting there, it’s a different thing developing to a level so you can stay there for a long time.
“I hope he just enjoys the experience and learns from it because he is a player with genuine ability.”