Aphiwe Dyantyi smiles wryly when he’s asked if Swys de Bruin’s rotation policy in 2019 means he himself suffered from a dip in form.
The Lions coach has made no secret of the fact that he’s become increasingly willing to relegate (and even drop) some of his stalwarts if their performances aren’t up to standard.
He’s done it with Harold Vorster, Lionel Mapoe, Andries Coetzee and Ruan Combrinck.
Dyantyi has emerged relatively unscathed, but there’s still a feeling that the Springbok sensation has been quiet in this campaign.
“Is that how our rotation is being perceived?” he said mischievously, before having a chuckle.
“Look, I think it indicates the state of our team. The next guy on the bench is ready to come on and take his opportunity. It’s a good thing. Coach Swys has that luxury now.”
Even if Dyantyi neatly sidesteps the real question, there’s enough evidence that some of the senior troops have indeed been shaken out of their slumber.
Vorster was excellent in last week’s thriller against the Waratahs after pretty much looking down and out a few weeks back, Mapoe and Coetzee have consolidated their places again and Dyantyi delivered his best performance of the campaign to date.
It’s litte wonder then De Bruin left his backline unchanged for Saturday’s meeting with the Highlanders at Ellis Park.
Still, is the flyer perhaps also feeling like he’s being watched more closely this season after his heady exploits in 2018, when he was named World Rugby’s rookie-of-the-year?
“I would imagine having made the waves I did last year that more teams have taken notice,” said Dyantyi.
“The focus is not about me though. I try not to make it about me. There are 14 others guys in a team too. If they’re doing well, that helps me to perform better. It’s a cliche, but that’s what it really is about.”
Lions: Andries Coetzee, Courtnall Skosan, Lionel Mapoe, Harold Vorster, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Elton Jantjies, Ross Cronje, Kwagga Smith, Cyle Brink, Marnus Schoeman, Marvin Orie, Stephan Lewies, Carlu Sadie, Malcolm Marx (c), Dylan Smith. Bench: Jan-Henning Campher, Sti Sithole, Johannes Jonker, Vince Tshituka, Hacjivah Dayimani, Nic Groom, Shaun Reynolds, Tyrone Green.