CAPE TOWN – Long-serving BlitzBok Kyle Brown thought his career was over when injury struck in April. So just imagine the emotions that came with being selected to play again in the very same city he made his debut in 10 years ago - Dubai.
What must have made the moment even more special is the fact that he had bossed the challenge of being fit and ready in time for the opening event of the 2018/19 World Sevens Series.
The 30-year-old forward went down clutching his knee at the National Stadium in Singapore in late April as the BlitzBoks paid a heavy price for progressing to the semi-finals.
And the way he went down bore an eerie resemblance to the motions that played out at Cape Town Stadium in 2016 when he suffered an injury that kept him on the sidelines for the whole of 2017.
And now, Brown, the second most capped BlitzBok of all time, has “no expectations” and just wants to do his part for a team that is a mix of experience and young energy.
“I don’t think there is much of an expectation from me, I just have to let the legs pump and do my bit,” Brown said. “We have an incredible team with some wonderful players and I need to make sure I do my part.”
“To be honest, I thought that was it as the idea was that I would call it a day if I came through the season unscathed,” Brown recalled.
“It was an incredible feeling (being selected). The medical staff at SAS (Stellenbosch Academy of Sport) and our management were wonderful. We had set the challenge to play again come Dubai and I am very pleased that I could make it.
“Being back gives me an ideal opportunity to spend more time on the field with this incredible bunch of people and to do something with them we all love - throwing the rugby ball around a bit.”
Brown has earned three gold medals in nine tournaments in Dubai, and getting his fourth in the “special place” would make for quite a comeback.
“Yes, it has been nine World Series tournaments and a World Cup here since, so I had my fair share of fun in this place. Dubai is a wonderful setting to play rugby. The weather is great, the crowds are great and we have good support here. This is a special place on the circuit, no doubt,” he added.
“A lot of teams just want to start their season, maybe even just to get out of pre-season, as that can be horrendous. But we train pretty hard to be ready and this is the first opportunity we have to play.”@WynonaLouw