Cape Town - He’s been dubbed the second Bryan Habana and many in the rugby world are super excited about the young player.
Springbok wing Aphiwe Dyantyi (24) made his country proud on Sunday evening when he was awarded the title of breakthrough player of the year at the World Rugby Awards in Monaco.
“Aphiwe has been sensational since making the step up to senior provincial rugby and after a superb debut season for the Lions in Super Rugby, he was deservedly called up to the Springbok squad,” said Mark Alexander, president of SA Rugby, after Sunday’s event.
“Despite his limited experience at international level, Aphiwe never looked out of place in the Springbok jersey and he made an immediate impact, scoring a try on debut for the Boks against England in June.”
Aphiwe, who plays for the Lions, hasn’t looked back since his professional debut – he’s played in 13 tests for South Africa and in 2018 scored a total of six tries.
In his acceptance speech, Aphiwe described the past year as a roller-coaster, Sport24 reports.
“I’ve been truly blessed in so many ways, with the people around me, who’ve helped me in the past few years. It’s really amazing,” he said.
“Being part of the Springboks, representing our country – it doesn’t get any better. I’m honoured as I never imagined I’d ever be the one sitting here, receiving an award such as this.”
He added he wants to challenge himself to be an even better player and hopes to make a difference in South Africa, especially to other young people who can use his story as inspiration. “That’s my ultimate goal,” he said.
Aphiwe grew up in the Eastern Cape and attended Dale College in King William’s Town.
He showed rugby talent from an early age and played in the U13 Craven Week. But as he got older, other kids in his school started developing faster and he wasn’t chosen for his school’s first team.
So, he decided to stop playing rugby and start soccer instead – which he played at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) where he studied B.Com. But friends convinced him to join his student residence’s rugby league team.
He did so well he was chosen for the UJ Varsity Cup team and was eventually selected for the Lions’ Curry Cup and Super Rugby teams.
Congratulations on Aphiwe’s feat have been pouring in from all over.
As Springbok legend Bryan Habana wrote on Instagram: “@aphiwe_q04, you absolute legend!! So proud! This is only the start for you!”