Comment: Aphiwe Dyantyi must remain focused and embrace his second chance

Aphiwe Dyantyi mid air as he is about to score a try.

FILE - Aphiwe Dyantyi will make his return to rugby after he signed for the Sharks earlier this week. Photo: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

Published Jun 15, 2023


Johannesburg - The day Aphiwe Dyantyi tested positive for a banned substance in 2019, my heart fell through my stomach, travelled past my small intestines, got logged anxiously in my large intestines and dropped out of my rear end; and that is putting it politely.

It was devastating stuff.

The pain of unquiet lingers still when I think of what could have and should have been, so I can only begin to imagine how the 28-year-old must feel when he looks back at the four years that he lost due to his stupid indiscretion.

Peak Dyantyi, in my estimation, was better than the current crop of Springbok wings, with all due respect to Cheslin Kolbe, Makazole Mapimpi, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Canan Moodie – not that they are any type of mugs when it comes to playing on the bookend of the backline.

He had lethal pace, a mean step and a bewildering set of skills that made you salivate whenever he touched the ball. Four years ago, in the Lions set-up under Johan Ackermann and Swys de Bruin, that was a lot, and watching a compilation of his tries and moves, stirs deep emotions and gets the blood pumping

He had the toe to outstrip anyone on the outside, the feet to beguile the staunches of defences when space was limited, and the visions to create opportunities and finish them off when few presented themselves. I was, therefore, glad to see that the Sharks decided to employ his services earlier this week now that he has served his time, even though I am somewhat peeved that it won’t be at the Lions.

It could be an inspired decision, but I am also cognisant of the fact that we must temper our expectations regarding his return.

Nonetheless, we all make mistakes and errors in judgment, and it is not always possible to be afforded a second chance. Dyantyi has that opportunity now, and must restore the faith that the Durban-based union has shown in him and win back the respect and admiration of the South African rugby-loving public.

It won’t be easy, and to be fair it shouldn’t be. He must be wary of repeating previous blunders, the case study of Chiliboy Ralepelle the main apprehension.

Only then can he begin to dream big again. Dyantyi has 13 Tests to his name – scoring six tries during that time.

Mapimpi was 29 when he made his debut, so time is still on Dyantyi’s side. All Dyantyi needs do is remain focused and not mess it up again. If he does that, we will all be able to enjoy his trademark ripped T-shirt celebration once more.


IOL Sport

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