Super Rugby

Chiliboy looks within to find Springbok form

Chiliboy Ralepelle (Gallo Images)
Chiliboy Ralepelle (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - With Malcolm Marx out injured, Chiliboy Ralepelle finds himself back in the Springbok mix ahead of the June international window. 

Exactly where Bok coach Rassie Erasmus will go in that department is still not clear, but he does have options - and Ralepelle is one of them. 

Bismarck du Plessis, Adriaan Strauss, Akker van der Merwe and Bongi Mbonambi have also been part of that conversation and all will be listening closely when Erasmus names his squad for the single Test against Wales on June 2, but Ralepelle is a real option too. 

The 31-year-old played Test rugby last year for the first time since 2013, marking a full comeback from the two-year doping ban he was given in 2015. 

Now, he has identified a few key methods in keeping his form up.

"As an athlete, you strive to be the best," Ralepelle said ahead of the Sharks' clash against the Chiefs on Saturday.

"For me, I went back and relooked at myself.

"I took stats from last year and looked at what I was capable of doing. I've worked closely with the conditioning coaches.

"The mind side of it is also something I've put a lot of attention on where previously I hadn't thought about it."

There is serious competition at hooker in Durban with Ralepelle, Akker van der Merwe and Franco Marais all strong options for coach Robert du Preez. 

Last weekend, though, Ralepelle had his moment in the spotlight when he came off the bench to win his 100th Super Rugby cap. 

"This has really been a family to me," he said of his time at the Sharks.

"It's very emotional. When I look back to my first game in 2006, it feels like yesterday. If you had told me then that I would play 100 games, I wouldn't have believed you."

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England 219
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