APHIWE DYANTYI (24)
Lions and Springbok rugbyplayer, Johannesburg
Comparisons between winger Dyantyi and Springbok legend Bryan Habana are inevitable – although they were recently played down by Habana himself on
Twitter. Nevertheless, there are parallels: they share lightning speed, cunning and a “team-first” mentality. Moreover, both men got their start at Emirates Airlines Park (albeit 13 years apart) and both scored in international debuts against England. And while Dyantyi has a long way to go to achieve anything near what Habana’s done, it’s clear that he has the talent and drive to do so. Not bad for a player who packed away his boots when he failed to make the 1st XV at Dale College in matric.
The disappointment of not being selected for that team spurred him to focus on his tertiary studies at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), where he obtained a B Com Marketing Honours degree and fell in love with the game again when representing his residence in an internal competition. His explosive pace and commitment were quickly noted and from there, it was a short hop to the UJ Young Guns, Varsity Cup side and a professional contract with the Lions by 2016.
Dyantyi remains grounded and quiet about his success, preferring to let his performance on the field speak for itself. Without labouring the point, this is another characteristic he shares with a famous predecessor in the green and gold No 11 jersey.