Back then he played for Australia’s Force in the Super Rugby competition and at 21, it would have been a long shot to earmark him as a future Springbok.
He returned to the Mother City, though, and slowly but surely edged closer to a regular starting berth at the Stormers.
A knee injury last season halted his progress and perhaps he was a little lucky at the start of the 2017 campaign with the promising Leolin Zas suffering a long-term injury.
If he was lucky, then that was just the break Leyds needed to prove that he is indeed world class and can play in the Green and Gold.
And Stormers fans have seen nothing short of that from the winger-cum-fullback this season.
But Leyds is not getting ahead of himself just yet and says: “Coming back from serious injury, all I wanted to do is get some game time for the Stormers. My goal every week is just to be in that starting line-up. Ultimately, I just have to focus on doing well and doing my job for the Stormers.
“I’m not getting ahead of myself; it’s rugby and anything can happen.”
He provided one of those anything-can-happen moments in the match against the Chiefs two weeks ago, giving a superb backhanded pass to SP Marais to dot down.
Of that pass, he says: “It was a calculated risk gone 100 percent right, I backed myself to do it and luckily it came off.”
Robbie Fleck’s men will have to be at their best again this weekend when they face the unbeaten Crusaders at AMI Stadium in Christchurch and Leyds knows this.
After losing to the Lions last weekend, the winger says there is no need to change what has worked for them to date this year.
The 24-year-old explains: “The whole season, we placed a lot of emphasis on playing with courage. I don’t think one loss will put us in our shell. The Crusaders would have done their homework. It’s about growing as individuals, [but we] still want to go out there and play some rugby.”