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The reaction on Twitter to Sharks signing banned Aphiwe Dyantyi

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Action Foto Sport/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Rugby in South Africa woke up on Tuesday morning to the revelation that Aphiwe Dyantyi has signed for the Sharks ahead of the upcoming expiry of his four-year suspension for doping. The ex-Springboks winger, who was voted World Rugby breakthrough of the year player in 2018 following his 13-cap emergence under Rassie Erasmus, missed the 2019 Rugby World Cup due to a failed drugs test with the Lions.

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It was December 2020 when a four-year ban was confirmed following his use of two anabolic steroids and selective androgen receptor modulator usage. That sanction is set to end on August 12 and ahead of that date, the Sharks have snapped up the now 28-year-old ahead of the 2023/24 URC season.

A 24-second audio message was posted by the Sharks on social media, Dyantyi saying: “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. I only promise to give my best for the jersey.

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Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber unpacks banned Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus’ new role

Video Spacer

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber unpacks banned Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus’ new role

“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.”

His imminent return to playing professionally has generated plenty of reaction on Twitter, with some South African journalists leading the way.

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Brendan Nel commented in a since-deleted tweet: “Very happy that Aphiwe Dyantyi has served his time and has found a home at the Sharks. But let’s not glorify a dope cheat who had opportunities to come clean and never chose to do so.”

Avuyile Sawula added: “The Sharks confirm the signing of Aphiwe Dyantyi!! BIG NEWS this morning! Dyantyi’s ban comes to an end this year and he’ll be able to train with the Durban side before being eligible to play in Aug. Oh yes, he’s back!!”

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Meanwhile, Sithale Kgaogelo reckoned: “Aphiwe Dyantyi might make his return to professional rugby in two months. I wonder where you’d have been if it wasn’t for the ban. One of the most talented backline players.”

There was also plenty of reaction from rugby fans. Here is a cross-section of what has been said:

“I’m all for second chances and redemption stories. I hope Aphiwe Dyantyi makes the most of this chance, but I reckon we might need to lower our expectations of him.”

“Makazole Mapimpi earned his first Bok cap at 29. Aphiwe Dyantyi’s ban ends this year and he’s 29 (sic) as well. it won’t be easy for him, but I still think he has a lot to offer.”

“When you serve a God of second chances Aphiwe Dyantyi is back baby!!”

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“Great to see Aphiwe Dyantyi return back into the fray. He was always a special talent. Thank you, Sharks Rugby!”

“I for one am not happy to see Aphiwe Dyantyi on the Sharks but it is what it is. Wrongdoing requires remorse and contrition, he showed none of that.”

“Aphiwe Dyantyi has served his suspension and is entitled to return to rugby… but it would be nice for either he or his new club to at least acknowledge his doping in statement welcoming him.”

“The Sharks did some massive signing in Aphiwe Dyantyi and it’s also good for him, the player. With the new coaching team at the franchise, can’t wait to see what they will have in store for the new season.”

“Question: If Aphiwe Dyantyi never got suspended, would Mapimpi have been there to score THAT try in the World Cup final? It’s just a question, I’m not fighting.”

“Let me take this opportunity to thank Cell C Sharks for giving my brother Aphiwe Dyantyi another chance in rugby world. Being a black man is hard to get such opportunity, I respect you Sharks.”

“It would be very interesting if you would interview Aphiwe Dyantyi. Aphiwe was a Springbok sensation but tested positive for prohibited substances before the 2019 Rugby World Cup and couldn’t be selected because of that. This is a huge story, and we need the truth!”

“I hope Aphiwe Dyantyi knows how much the rugby world missed him.”

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