JOHANNESBURG - Promising Lions loose-forward Hacjivah Dayimani has revealed he plans to use the Currie Cup competition to showcase his full skills set, something he was unable to do during the Super Rugby competition.
In the absence of senior players like Warren Whiteley, Kwagga Smith, Cyle Brink and even Franco Smith, who at times played on the side of the scrum, the 20-year-old is looking to impress over the coming weeks as he will be “allowed” to play his own game.
“It felt like I was in a bit of a box in Super Rugby ... with all those big name players ahead of me in the queue, like Warren and Cyle. I was trying to show what I can do, but how they do things ... being all physical, stealing balls ... I felt I wasn’t playing my game,” said Dayimani. “Now, I am more confident, now is the time for me to express myself, show what I can do. The coach (Ivan van Rooyen) spoke to me and told me it is time for me to do what I do best.”
And that is Dayimani playing a linking game with his backs, exploiting space and even beating opposition backs on the outside. He does, after all, have a 100m best time of 10.68 seconds ... not bad for a flanker.
“This is a season for improvement for me and I’m going to use the opportunity. I know I can be better. I want to find space for my team mates, find space for myself, exploit it ... stick to those strengths. I like staying out wide, taking on the backs; it’s what I’m good at and I’m going to try do that more in the Currie Cup. It’s going to be tough though ... because everyone in the Currie Cup is trying to show what they can do.”
Dayimani enjoyed a very satisfying debut Super Rugby season, and last weekend scored two tries in the Lions’ Currie Cup win against Griquas. At just 20 he was the “senior” man in the loose-trio, playing alongside Len Massyn and James Venter, having featured regularly in Super Rugby this year. While full of pace and skill, and a bit of X-factor, too, Dayimani said he still had plenty of learning to do and was looking forward to that in the coming weeks and months.
A post shared by Hacjivah Chucks Dayimani™️ (@itzhim_hacjivah) on
“I feel I can improve 60 percent,” he said with a laugh on Tuesday. “I know my weaknesses, but have to keep trying to get closer to my goal. What I do want though is to keep playing an exciting brand of rugby within this Lions system.
“I’ll try and learn from everyone here, and use a bit of something from everyone I play with. I know all of a sudden there is some pressure on me now, too, after last weekend (scoring two tries), but I have to block out the noise and just focus on playing my game.”
Next up for the Lions are the Bulls, who they visit on Saturday. The Lions team for the visit to Loftus will be named on Thursday afternoon. Dayimani said taking on the men from Pretoria was always a big deal, and this week would be no different.
“We know them well, and they’re always tough ... they bring it up front, they’re physical and confrontational. If they get a sniff they’ll take it and exploit any weakness, so we’ll have to bring our A-game.”