Former University of Johannesburg rugby star Aphiwe Dyantyi crowned a meteoric rise to stardom when he won the Breakthrough Player of the Year award in Monaco last Sunday.
World Rugby closed out the international year with their awards function and the 24-year-old former UJ wing said he had never expected such recognition.
“I have had so many people helping me in the last few years – it’s really amazing,” he said.
“Being part of the Springboks, representing our country – it doesn’t get any better. I’m very honoured as I never imagined I would ever be the one sitting here receiving an award such as this.”
He said he had always watched other players receiving awards and never thought he would be in line for such an accolade.
“Even now it’s still difficult to believe and I was honoured just to be a nominee for the award.”
He hopes his rise to prominence will provide inspiration for young rugby players coming through the ranks.
“I just want to keep on challenging myself to keep on improving and hopefully make a difference for our country,” said Dyantyi, who scored six tries in 13 Tests this year.
“But equally, I want to make an impact on someone else’s life, someone who will see my story as an inspiration to do something great out there. That is my ultimate goal.”
Last month, Dyantyi was honoured at the annual UJ sports awards gala function when he was named the varsity’s Club Sportsperson of the Year.