CAPE TOWN – Aphiwe Dyantyi found it difficult to talk about himself after being nominated for the World Rugby Breakthrough of the Year Award on Friday.
The Springbok sensation will go up against Ireland wing Jordan Larmour and All Black prop Karl Tu’inukuafe for the award, which was won by New Zealand star Rieko Ioane in 2017.
Dyantyi has scored six tries in nine Test matches for the Boks in 2018, and is destined to become one of the world’s greats.
Blessed with tremendous speed, it is his other attributes that make Dyantyi such a fine rugby player.
He is able to step his opponent, as proven with the manner in which he left Beauden Barrett flat-footed for his second try in Wellington, while he has a great appetite for defence and getting stuck in at the breakdowns.
The 24-year-old finished off at the Springbok training camp on Friday in Stellenbosch, and said that the nomination was all about the team.
“Obviously I feel great about the award nomination. It’s been an unbelievable year for me personally. I am just truly honoured to be nominated,” Dyantyi said in a video posted to the Springbok Twitter account.
“But credit must go to the team – I really appreciate just being part of this team, this culture, this history-making team. I just hope that we can carry on with the work that we’ve been doing.
“And hopefully not only me… I hope other guys can get awards. This award (nomination) says a lot about where we’ve come from and the work that we’ve been able to put in throughout the season.”
Dyantyi hopes to continue his hot streak on the end-of-year tour, which begins with the first Test against England at Twickenham next week Saturday.
“For me, it’s about the team and the work that we’ve put in. The coaches, management, my family as well: everyone who has helped me. It means a lot and I am truly humbled,” he said.
“This serves as motivation for me personally, and hopefully for the team as well, going into the end-of-year tour. Hopefully we can get the results there, continue to grow and work towards our goal, which is the World Cup next year.”
Erasmus said his coaching and conditioning staff tried to simulate high-intensity, match-like conditions during training because they will have to hit the ground running when they face @EnglandRugby next week in front of 80 000 spectators at Twickenham. pic.twitter.com/1mxU15rshv