It was disheartening for SA Sevens player Darren Adonis, originally from Mitchell’s Plain, when he could not make his debut in the SA Academy team in Dubai last month due to an injury he picked up during training.“The reality sunk in immediately at the training that I could not participate in an event that I was looking forward to. I am sure that each player in a similar position would feel the same way after looking forward to play for their country and picks up an injury before you set foot on the big stage. I was not only disheartened but also frustrated, and discovering that I had a grade two shoulder tear added to the gloom. Beside my better judgement, I actively participated in the third day of the event, leading to two weeks of unbearable pain,” he says.He left Mitchell’s Plain as a child and moved to Melkhoutfontein, a small town about ten minutes from Stilbaai. Here he completed his primary school at the Bertie Barnard Primary School. He did his high school at Oakdale High School in Riversdale.“After completing my schooling in 2016 I was recruited into the junior team of the Bloemfontein Cheetahs. I was fortunate to be part of the triumphant senior team during the 2019 Currie Cup. I also joined the SA Sevens Team, also known as the Blitzboks, in October last year,” Darren says.He was born into a supportive family and each one played a role in his rugby career.“They not only played a vital role in my journey as a sportsman, but also in my upbringing. If I had to pick an individual that had the most influence, it would be my mother. She has always been an unwavering pillar that I could depend on no matter the circumstances,” he says.Darren’s main objectives in 7s rugby are to play on the HSBC World Series circuit, participating in more tournaments, the Olympics in Japan and hopefully partake in the 7s Rugby World Cup in 2022 in Cape Town.“I don’t really have any hobbies. In all honesty, I have dedicated a great portion of my life to rugby, and by doing so I gave up on the opportunity to find hobbies. When I am awarded ‘down time’ it is spent with friends, family and my partner,” he says.Being small in stature he was constantly told that he would never make it in the rugby world and that is why he admires Cheslin Kolbe.“We are more or less the same build and height. Cheslin was told that due to his physique he wouldn’t amount to much, but he went on to prove all the naysayers wrong. Just look at his performance during the Rugby World Cup in Japan last year.“My experience with the Cheetahs is one that consists of countless lessons, both good and bad memories, lifetime friendships, and most importantly: if you want to obtain good results, you have to work for it. I also played in four Pro14 matches for the Cheetahs,” he says.When he was selected for the academy team he was filled with excitement and anticipation.“Although I could not participate in every game in Dubai it was a memorable experience, especially when we won the gold medal in the international invitational men’s competition.“My message to young players is to never give up. The road to success will never be an easy one. There will always be naysayers and there will always be criticism. It is up to you to decide whether you’re going to allow these bumps in the road to derail you or if you’re going to set your mind to it and never give up,” Darren says.He is currently training at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sports in preparation for the next two legs of the HSBC Series in FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 January; and on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 February in the Bankwest Stadium in Sydney, Australia. These two legs will be held at the end of the month and the team will be announced by the coach, Neil Powell, before they leave our shores.