DURBAN – Aphiwe Dyantyi has, in his short Springbok career, already caught the eye.
The Lions man has made the step up to Test level, and after a successful England series where he was chucked in the deep end and swam magnificently, has shone only brighter after the first Rugby Championship match.
Dyantyi collected two tries off kicks, as well as a Man of the Match performance that showcased more than just his try-scoring abilities. He was monumental in defence, worked hard off the ball, and summarised his attitude in one unselfish play.
With two tries already banked, Dyantyi found himself on the opposite wing with the tryline open in front of him. Instead, the winger shifted the ball onto Makazole Mapimpi who also collected his second try with a simple walk in.
When quizzed about this act, Dyantyi’s response showed the true measure of the man.
“I just felt he (Mapimpi) was in a better position to score, so I gave him the ball,” he said plainly. ”For me, the most important thing is for us to get the result as a team; I mean, it doesn’t help if I score 50 tries and we lose the game.
“If I score just a couple of tries in 20 games, but we win all of them, then that’s more important than me being the top try-scorer.”
It says a lot about the character of the Lions man who is still cutting his teeth at the Springbok level and is trying to cement his place.
Tries, for wings, are their bread and butter and often where they are measured, thus, for him to turn down a hat-trick for the good of the team speaks volumes. However, it may well be more than just the individual’s character, as Dyantyi admit there is a good culture developing where he, as a youngster, is being pushed to constantly improve.
“We’re building as a team and collective, and with the senior guys around me, they’re constantly motivating me to keep improving myself, and I’ve also tried to take responsibility to improve on my game to try to complement those around me,” Dyantyi said.
“I think the guys are gelling really well considering that we’ve only played a few Tests together under coach Rassie (Erasmus), and I think every day we just keep on building and getting better.”