Lions prop Sti Sithole gets down on one knee for lockdown engagement
JOHANNESBURG - Lions prop Sti Sithole has got to be the happiest rugby player on the planet right now.
The 27-year-old has become engaged to his American sweetheart, Brielle, and ensured life in lockdown is just a little more pleasant and bearable.
“We’re together here in Joburg which is nice,” said Sithole. “Being in lockdown and the world being in the state it is is weird. But I’m excited and looking forward to our future together. It’s a big step.”
Sithole, who was on tour in New Zealand a few weeks back when the Super Rugby competition was suspended, said the spread of the coronavirus threw his plans for a more special engagement out the window.
“I had something planned for after the tour, but then we were all forced into isolation for two weeks (after the team’s return to South Africa) and then came the first lockdown and then the extension of the lockdown,” said Sithole. “I had to think on my feet and in the end we got engaged here in my apartment, on the balcony, on Sunday.”
Sithole and his bride-to-be met while they were both studying at the University of Cape Town in 2013.
“Brielle was an exchange student on campus for a semester. One of her friends was seeing one of my friends and we hung out together, but that’s where it ended. Only later on did we realise we actually liked each other.”
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When Brielle returned to the USA, to New Jersey, at the end of 2013 the two stayed in contact with one another and when she returned to South Africa the following year the two officially became a couple.
“She then moved here permanently in 2017 when I joined the Lions. We’ve stayed together ever since.”
With the world in turmoil and there being uncertainty about the future Sithole and his fiancee are yet to make any wedding plans. “It’s tough to plan anything right now. We’ll get married in Durban, my home town, but I don’t know when. And then we’ll go over to the States and do something there as well.”
So, the big question is, how much does an American girl from Jersey know about rugby? “She didn’t even know what rugby was when we met,” chuckled Sithole. “She now knows a bit … I show her a few things when I do my video reviews and here and there I’ve tried to teach her the fine arts of scrumming. She’s learning, getting there.”@jacq_west