It took just one moment of magic feet for Aphiwe Dyantyi to have the local rugby fraternity buzzing.
The Lions winger crowned an excellent Super Rugby debut with the Man-of-the-Match award against the Sharks at Ellis Park at the weekend.
Did you see that ????
Aphiwe Dyantyi with a sensational try for the Lions in their win over the Sharks.
— SuperSport ⚽️???? (@SuperSportTV) February 18, 2018
However, it was undoubtedly his magical try that contributed greatly to that accolade.
So, just who exactly is the 23-year-old Lions coach Swys de Bruin calls “unreal”?
He was almost lost to rugby
In an interview with Campus TV South Africa, Dyantyi admitted that he gave up rugby temporarily because he didn’t handle his matric year all that well.
“I had a bit of a big head going into my Grade 11 year at Dale College,” he said.
“It turned out to be a very humbling year because I thought I was going to automatically make it into the first team. It didn’t happen like that. I ended up playing soccer.”
But thankfully – for rugby’s sake – he rediscovered his passion through mates he lived with at University of Johannesburg’s Majuba res.
“I was living on res at campus. Some of my friends from school asked me if I could play for the Koshuis team as they needed players. They played on a Wednesday, so I was happy to help them out. After a few games, I was asked to train with the Varsity Cup team and that’s when things started happening.”
He comes from a sporting family, where his mother actually shone
Dyantyi’s father and two elder brothers all played rugby but it’s his mother who inspired him to set lofty goals in the cutthroat world of professional sport.
“Everyone in my family has a history of sport,” he said.
“My mom played netball at provincial level in the old Transkei. She was apparently really good. I never saw her play but our house was always full of her certificates of achievement. I’m the first in the family to take my rugby to the next level.”
He’s not only invested in his rugby career
Dyantyi isn’t a man who sit still for long.
While his rise in the Lions setup attests to his willingness to work hard, his interests are diverse.
He’s busy completing his honours degree in BCom Marketing Management and has, to date, found time to freelance at his brother’s marketing agency.
“I make a point of that because I want to achieve a lot of things and I’m not exactly sure what yet,” said Dyantyi.
“But I feel if I can do a lot of things and stay productive, it’ll help me. I believe it’s important to have activities outside rugby.”
Swys de Bruin says he’s ‘unreal’
“I am very impressed. Aphiwe is a guy who needs to be watched. He is unreal. It is the same with the rest of the youngsters, they look good,” said the Lions coach.