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Sharks to hand former Springbok wing Aphiwe Dyantyi a lifeline after drug ban ends?

FILE - Springbok wing Aphiwe Dyantyi celebrates with teammates at the end of their Test match against England at Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein in 2018. Photo: Steve Haag

FILE - Springbok wing Aphiwe Dyantyi celebrates with teammates at the end of their Test match against England at Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein in 2018. Photo: Steve Haag

Published May 12, 2022

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Durban — It looks increasingly certain that the Sharks are to extend a lifeline to former Springbok wing Aphiwe Dyantyi, who has broken the back of his four-year suspension from rugby after testing positive for anabolic steroids and he could be training with the Sharks sometime in the new year.

Dyantyi is currently serving a four-year ban from the game slapped on him in December 2020 by the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sports, and he will complete the term next year on August 12, but apparently the rules permit him to begin training six months before the end of his ban.

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It makes sense for the Sharks to take on the 27-year-old given that they have just said goodbye to Sbu Nkosi, who has been confirmed as the Bulls’ new wing as they, in turn, have lost Madosh Tambwe to France.

Funnily enough, Nkosi and Dyantyi made their debuts as the Bok wings in the first Test against Eddie Jones’ England at Ellis Park in 2018, with both scoring tries. It was the first serious match the Boks played under new coach Rassie Erasmus.

Dyantyi had a fine year — including scoring two tries in the Boks’ famous victory over the All Blacks in Wellington — and went on to with the 2018 World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year Award.

The then 23-year-old had the rugby world at his feet only for disaster to strike…

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The devastated Dyantyi always protested his innocence but a post on social media earlier this year suggested he had accepted his fate and could not wait to get back onto the field.

He wrote on Instagram in February: “This year marks three years out of the game (banned). A very challenging three years coupled with tears, rebuilding, love & laughter.

“A trial & error period in my life,” the post continued, “but two business projects down the line, I wouldn’t change anything about my life journey. The support has been both heartwarming & humbling (THANK YOU)

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“I find myself in a privileged position of building beyond rugby and focusing on getting back on the field and getting back I will …

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“I’m only getting started …”

A former Lions player, Dyantyi started all 13 Tests the Boks played in 2018. His last rugby match before the ban was the Boks’ loss to Wales in Cardiff in November 2018.

He would have been a certainty for the 2019 World Cup in Japan and no doubt has set his sights on next year’s World Cup in France.

@MikeGreenaway67

IOL Sport

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