Former Springbok winger Aphiwe Dyantyi is set to make his comeback to professional rugby after serving a four-year doping suspension. The Sharks, based in Durban, announced the much-anticipated return on Tuesday morning, as Dyantyi had been training with the team for the past year as reported by Eyewitness News.
Dyantyi was banned from rugby in December 2019 after testing positive for performance-enhancing substances in August of that same year. The talented player, hailing from the Eastern Cape, had failed a doping test during a Springbok camp just before their successful Rugby World Cup campaign in Japan.
Initially making his mark with the Lions, Dyantyi impressed both in the Currie Cup and Super Rugby competitions before earning a call-up to the national team. He had a remarkable debut season for the Springboks in 2018, featuring in 13 international matches and ultimately earning the title of World Rugby’s Breakthrough Player.
Dyantyi’s absence from the game occurred during what could have been his prime years, and it remains to be seen if he can recapture the form that made him an overnight sensation.
“I’m just excited to be back, and I trust that everyone around me shares the same excitement to see what I can do,” Dyantyi expressed.
Even if Dyantyi manages to have a successful comeback, reclaiming a spot in the Springboks may prove challenging with the emergence of new talents like Kurt-Lee Arendse, Canan Moodie, and Edwill van der Merwe in his preferred positions.
There is no talk of aiming for higher honours, and Dyantyi’s primary focus is giving his best for the Sharks.
“I only promise to give my best for the jersey. I’ve been in Durban for quite some time now, and I’ve witnessed what the Sharks mean to the people. I want to contribute to that and honor the pride that people have in the team,” Dyantyi stated.
As of now, Dyantyi is still serving his suspension and will only become eligible for selection from August 12, 2023, pending confirmation from the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (Saids) regarding the exact end date of his ban.
— The Sharks (@SharksRugby) June 13, 2023
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Photo: Twitter / @aphiweQ04