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