‘I PLAYED SOME OF MY BEST RUGBY EVER’

Stormers loose forward KOBUS VAN DYK on his Super Rugby season, suffering a knee injury just when he’d hit top form, and why he’s signed for the Canon Eagles in Japan.

You made just one appearance off the bench for the Stormers in their first six matches of this year’s Super Rugby tournament, before starting six of their next seven. Were you a bit frustrated at first but ultimately satisfied with the playing opportunities you got later on?

At the beginning of the year, the competition among the loose forwards was very tough, as for the first time in a while everybody was fit. Not being selected wasn’t great but it helped me to work on certain aspects of my game and improve as a player. When I finally got an opportunity to start [against the Reds in round eight] I was very hungry for rugby and it showed in my game on the pitch. I played some of my best rugby ever. If you are not selected for a while, you realise what you are missing.

You started three matches at blindside flank and three at No 8. What’s your preferred position?
No 8 has always been my preferred position but until this year I just never had an opportunity to play there at the Stormers. At No 8, you have more of a decision-making role and your role isn’t as fixed as a blindside flank.
How did you injure your knee against the Highlanders and how disappointed were you for it to happen at a crucial stage of the season?

I twisted my knee while defending a maul and dislocated my kneecap. I was very disappointed because I felt I was in great form and the team was also starting to hit form.

How’s your rehab going and when do you hope to be back on the field?

I haven’t really started my rehab yet, I’m still on crutches. I’m seeing the specialist again next Monday, then I should have more news. I hope to be back to full fitness by the end of August.

You’ve signed for the Canon Eagles. Apart from the money, what appeals to you about playing in Japan and for Canon in particular?

This wasn’t the plan at the beginning of the year, but the opportunity presented itself when I started playing again. I had to think hard about it and whether this is the right time for me to go overseas. But after weighing up all my options I made the decision to go and experience new things and places. I have lived in the Cape Town area all my life and it’s time for a change. The number of Saffas at Canon also made it more appealing; Jan de Klerk is one of my good friends I made at Western Province.
How long is your contract with Canon and will you return to play for the Stormers in Super Rugby next year?

I’ve signed for two seasons at Canon, so I won’t be returning for Super Rugby next year.

What are your short- and long-term goals? Is playing for the Springboks a top priority for you?

My short-term goal is to enjoy Japan and what it offers. At the moment, I’m not sure about my long-term goals, I’m going to take the challenges year by year from now on. Playing for the Springboks has always been a dream of mine, but at the moment that is not my top priority.

Interview by Simon Borchardt

Full Article: https://rugbyrocks.co.za/kobus-van-dyk-i-played-some-of-my-best-rugby-ever/