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24-second Aphiwe Dyantyi message confirms his deal to return to rugby

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Gianluigi Guercia/AFP via Getty Images)

Banned ex-Springboks winger Aphiwe Dyantyi is officially back in rugby ahead of the upcoming expiry of his four-year ban for doping. The 28-year-old’s suspension finishes on August 12 and a deal has been announced by the Sharks to join them in Durban for the new 2023/24 URC season.

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The Sharks recently appointed ex-All Blacks assistant John Plumtree as their head coach, with Neil Powell stepping back into his director of rugby role, and they have now bolstered their squad with the intriguing signing of Dyantyi.

Under a club social media message titled: “It’s official, welcome Aphiwe Dyantyi to our Sharks family”, the South African recorded a 24-second audio clip where he thanked the Sharks for giving him his chance.

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“More than anything I am just excited to be back, and I just trust that everyone around is as excited as I am to see what I can do,” said Dyantyi. “I only promise to give my best for the jersey.

“I have been now in Durban for quite some time, and I have kind of seen what the Sharks mean to the people. I want to contribute to that, and I have seen the pride that the people have, and I would like to honour that in all that I do and the fans to see that reflected in what I do on the field.”

https://twitter.com/SharksRugby/status/1668513599344484352

It was in February last year, two and a half years into his ban for testing positive for two anabolic steroids and selective androgen receptor modulator usage, when Dyantyi told his social media followers that he would be targeting a return to rugby when he became free to play again in August 2023.

He wrote at the time: “This year marks three years out of the game (banned). A very challenging three years coupled with tears, rebuilding, love and laughter. A trial and error period in my life but two business projects down the line, I wouldn’t change anything about my life journey. The support has been both heartwarming and humbling. Thank you.”

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Capped 13 times by Rassie Erasmus and chosen by World Rugby as their 2018 breakthrough player of the year, the-then Lions winger Dyantyi was expected to challenge for inclusion in the Springboks squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

However, while South Africa went on to win the tournament in the Far East, Dyantyi was unavailable due to his failed doping test with the Lions and he was eventually banned in December 2020 for four years.

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Shaylen 6 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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FEATURE Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma
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