Hacjivah Dayimani confident of breaking Springboks’ ceiling

The Stormers’ Hacjivah Dayimani has impressed with his physicality this season. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

The Stormers’ Hacjivah Dayimani has impressed with his physicality this season. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Jan 10, 2024


You would think that a player of the calibre of Hacjivah Dayimani would be part of the Springboks by now.

He started playing Super Rugby for the Lions as a teenager in 2017 already, having also made the SA Schools side in 2015.

So versatile was the Jeppe High product that he was able to play at wing and centre despite being a No 8. Dayimani made the big move to the city of his birth in 2021 to join the Stormers, and has flourished as the Cape Town side reached two consecutive United Rugby Championship finals, winning the 2022 edition and going down to Munster last year.

Now 26 , Dayimani is doing something tangible in his game to try convince the Bok management that he is so much more than just a hot stepper who thrives in space.

“In terms of the Springbok dream, it’s something I am really looking forward to, ” the skilful loose forward said yesterday ahead of Saturday’s Champions Cup clash against the Sale Sharks at Cape Town Stadium (7.30pm kick-off).

“I’ve been playing since 2016, 2017 Super Rugby, and I’ve been up-and-coming for almost seven, eight years. “So, I’m just trying to change that. Every year, I’m a player to watch out for, and I’m just trying to break that ceiling, and hopefully I can reach greater heights.

“For the past two seasons, based on how the Stormers play – especially having Evan Roos in the middle – I was always in the wide channels, and it’s something Dawie (Snyman, attack coach), myself and a few of the coaches have felt like that is where I need to improve more.

“I made a decision this year that this is the year, because there is a perception obviously about me that I’m this guy who is constantly in the wide channels, where it’s nice, and do the offloads and fancy passing. But when it comes to the hard yards, I shy away …

“So, I just felt like I took it to myself and made that statement, especially to myself that listen, especially in the big games, that’s where I actually want to rock up and show I’m visible.”

Dayimani has certainly been visible since returning to action after the Stormers’ forgettable tour of Europe, and he has been piling up the statistics for metres made, as usual, but also getting stuck in physically, especially in the absence of injured No 8 Evan Roos.

“From the Zebre game to La Rochelle, a few moments against the Bulls and Sharks, I think you can start to see that I’m trying to be in those fringes – where it’s hot,” he said.

“It’s a part of my game that I am working on and trying to show (that I can be physical), because I think there is a perception in rugby that in order for you to be a good ball carrier, you have to run into people … “They don’t look at the metres made, they don’t look at defenders beaten – they look at the physicality of you running into players … That makes you a good ball carrier.

“My whole life I’ve always looked at my stats in terms of defenders beaten, how many metres I made, and I thought I was a good ball carrier based on that. But other people think otherwise.

“So, I want to show people that I can also be in those hot places on the rugby field, and that it’s possible that I can mix the two and that I am a complete rugby player.”

Dayimani is set to face a few former Stormers forwards in the shape of Ernst van Rhyn and Cobus Wiese on Saturday, while Springbok Du Preez twins Jean-Luc and Dan are also part of the Sale squad – although it remains to be seen whether the English club will send their strongest group to the Mother City.