Cape Town — The man who handed Aphiwe Dyantyi his Springbok debut believes in “second chances”, and hopes that the Sharks’ new signing can play his way back into the national team in future.
Rassie Erasmus, the SA Rugby director of rugby, was the head coach who picked then-Lions star Dyantyi at left wing in the first Test against England in 2018, and the speedster repaid the faith with a touchdown at Ellis Park in a come-from-behind 42-39 Bok victory.
Dyantyi went on to score six tries in 13 Tests, and was named as the World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year.
But his Rugby World Cup dream was shattered when he tested positive for the banned substances metandienone, methyltestosterone and LGD-4033 in July 2019, and he received a four-year ban soon after that.
Erasmus was asked about his former left wing’s return during a press conference in Pretoria on Wednesday, where the Springboks are in camp ahead of the Rugby Championship.
“If you look at the penalty he paid … four years, it’s just not worth doing something like that. I am not judging him as a person. I am just saying that four years is long, and it would be so non-sensible for a player to try (to use performance-enhancing drugs) in this day and age where you just can’t get away with something like that,” Erasmus said.
“We get tested every day in camp here. There are four or five players who have been tested over the last two years at every camp, every day. There’s not a day that goes by that players don’t get tested.
“So, firstly, I don’t think you need something like that to make it at the highest level.”
Erasmus added that the door was open for Dyantyi to return to the national side in future.
“To get to Aphiwe, I believe in second chances. I believe when there’s a – it’s my personal view – if there’s a ban and that’s what the disciplinary (committee) decided, he served his ban for four years … It must have been really tough (for the) guy,” the former Bok loose forward said.
“I really hope that he comes back with a bang and he does really well for the Sharks, and I hope we can one day pick him for the Springboks again.
“I know that a lot of people don’t feel the same way about that. But I feel that’s why there was a time period to the ban – because after that, you can consider a guy.
“We believe in second chances, so hopefully he does well and we can look at him again.”