‘ I missed the de­mands of Su­per Rugby,’ says Dey­sel

The Witness - Wheels - - SPORT - GARETH JENK­IN­SON

A FEW months ago a move back to Dur­ban was out of the ques­tion for the hu­man wreck­ing ball Jean Dey­sel, but the flank was lured back by homely com­forts and the phys­i­cal­ity of Su­per Rugby.

Speak­ing on Tues­day, Dey­sel touched on the fac­tors that lured him back and his love for the tough na­ture of South­ern Hemi­sphere rugby.

“I’m very happy to be back. When Gary Gold spoke to me about three weeks back it was an easy call to make — it’s al­ways easy com­ing back to Dur­ban and see­ing the peo­ple and play­ers again. It’s a great union to play for,” Dey­sel said.

His im­pact in Satur­day’s 35- 29 loss to the Chee­tahs was felt by spec­ta­tors and play­ers alike and he brought the needed phys­i­cal­ity and ur­gency that nearly helped the Sharks take the match at the death.

While he has al­ways been a tough, di­rect ball car­rier and men­ace on de­fence, Dey­sel said it was more than just the rugby that saw him re­turn well be­fore his two- year con­tract with Ja­panese club Toy­ota Verblitz had con­cluded.

“I missed the braai to be hon­est with you. But Ja­pan was a great learn­ing curve and ex­pe­ri­ence for me. Toy­ota is a great club and they are so ea­ger to learn and de­velop their rugby, not just in gen­eral but as a cul­ture as well,” he said.

“Go­ing there was awe­some but be­ing back — this is where you grew up, and this is where you be­long with friends and fam­ily. It was a great ex­pe­ri­ence, but there were a lot of things I missed and it’s great to be back.”

But go­ing from Ja­panese club rugby to Su­per Rugby level had the vet­eran un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally ner­vous, even with his 68 caps.

“To be hon­est I haven’t been that ner­vous be­fore a game since I can re­mem­ber. I think to eight years back when I played my first game — I was still more ner­vous for the Chee­tahs game then I was for that,” he said.

But the Spring­bok gave credit to his team- mates and the Sharks coach­ing staff for bring­ing him quickly up to speed with their up­dated game- plan and struc­tures. He sin­gled out direc­tor of rugby Gary Gold’s dif­fer­ent views on rugby as a breath of fresh air.

“Gary has been great; the way he speaks and thinks about a game is phe­nom­e­nal. The prepa­ra­tion he puts in, you al­ways feel be­hind so you need to do your part to catch up with him and that’s the feel­ing I get. He’s been very in­flu­en­tial, not just for my­self but for the team as well.”

Prepa­ra­tion is key this week and the Sharks have worked hard at rec­ti­fy­ing the sim­ple er­rors that plagued them last week­end.

The Li­ons pose an­other phys­i­cal chal­lenge and Dey­sel and com­pany will have to be on top form against a tremen­dously strong pack.

“The Li­ons have a very good loose trio and they’ve been play­ing to­gether for a while now. They link to­gether phe­nom­e­nally and they’re do­ing the job their coaches want them to so its go­ing to be a tough ask for us. We need to match them not just phys­i­cally but skills- wise as well be­cause they have plenty of it,” he said.

Of­ten the first player into the fray, Dey­sel is rel­ish­ing be­ing able to play in rugby’s most de­mand­ing com­pe­ti­tion once again — which he was not so pleas­antly re­minded of this week­end.

“I played 30 min­utes and I bat­tled to get out of my car on Sun­day, whereas in Ja­pan I would play and Sun­days I felt good. It’s a lot more phys­i­cal and to be hon­est you miss it — that heavy com­pet­i­tive­ness. It’s good to get up on Sun­day and walk around feel­ing sore from Satur­day.”

The Sharks are set to an­nounce their side to face the Li­ons at King’s Park on Satur­day. With the re­turn of Ryan Kankowski this week, it will be in­ter­est­ing to see who Gold se­lects in his loose trio for an­other en­tic­ing South African derby.

PHOTO: GALLO IMAGES

Sharks flank Jean Dey­sel ( right) is happy to be back in Dur­ban. His and Ryan Kankowski’s ( left) re­turn to the Sharks gives the coach­ing staff plenty of op­tions in the loose trio for this week­end’s clash against the Li­ons.

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