Hacjivah Dayimani will line up at centre for the Lions in the Rugby Challenge on Saturday. Photo: Paul Miller/EPA
Hacjivah Dayimani will line up at centre for the Lions in the Rugby Challenge on Saturday. Photo: Paul Miller/EPA

Hacjivah Dayimani can be a brilliant centre, says Lions coach

By Jacques van der Westhuyzen Time of article published May 9, 2019

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JOHANNESBURG – Lions boss Swys de Bruin may not have been directly involved with his team in recent weeks – as he took time off to receive help for a stress-related matter.

But it doesn’t mean he wasn’t thinking about the side and his players.

In fact, he was a busy man, and one of the big decisions he took – in consultation with Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus – was to give the exciting and dynamic 21-year-old loose forward Hacjivah Dayimani a chance to show what he can do among the backs – and in the midfield, to be more specific.

Dayimani, who is regarded as one of the country’s most exciting prospects and a player who shone in the junior ranks, has already shown what he can do at flank and eighthman at Super Rugby level.

But De Bruin feels Dayimani, who is strong and extremely quick, is maybe best suited to playing in the centres. “I’m very excited about this move,” said the Lions boss on Thursday.

“We’re looking at his future. We had discussions with him and his agent, and Rassie also knows about this move.

“It’s not something we’ve taken lightly, but I’m that kind of guy that I’ll look at a player’s profile and think he can fit in elsewhere.

“Hacjivah has done well at loose forward, and I’m not saying he won’t play there again, but I want to try him at centre, to see how he goes. All his attributes lead me to think he can be a brilliant centre,” said De Bruin.

Dayimani is said to be one of the fastest Super Rugby players around, running the 100m under 11 seconds, while he stands 1.88m tall and weighs 100kg. He’s also got plenty of skills and good hands.

“He’s one of our future stars, he’s a really talented guy. It’s also my job to try find the right position for the right guy. I believe his strengths can be best used in midfield.”

De Bruin was part of the Sharks coaching team when Tendai Mtawarira was moved from the loose trio to the front row, and also had a hand in former Bok centre Trevor Halstead moving from fullback to the midfield.

“I looked at Beast all those years ago, and I knew he’d go nowhere as a No 8. So, when the time came, we moved him to prop, and now he’s a record-holder as a loosehead. And, Trevor Halstead was a slowish fullback, and we moved him to 12 and it worked straight away.”

Dayimani will play inside Franco Naudé – who also has Super Rugby experience – when the Golden Lions face the Valke in a SuperSport Challenge match at Ellis Park on Saturday (12pm kickoff).


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