SA Rugby Magazine takes a look at the timeline of Springbok wing Aphiwe Dyantyi, the reigning Breakthrough Player of the Year.
Schools rugby (2007–2012)
Born and raised in the Eastern Cape, Dyantyi represented the Border Bulldogs as a flyhalf at the 2007 Under-13 Craven Week tournament held in Krugersdorp. In his school days, he played wing and fullback and missed out on provincial selection at high school level.
Dyantyi didn’t play for the Dale College Boys’ High School first XV during his matric year after being considered too small.
University and youth rugby (2013–2015)
Gave up on rugby after school to pursue a BCom degree in Marketing at the University of Johannesburg.
During his first year at University, Dyantyi represented the his varsity football team before being convinced by friends to play Koshuis rugby.
He represented UJ in the Young Guns competition in 2014, and also played sevens for the university.
In 2015, he played for the UJ senior team in the Varsity Cup and then joined the Golden Lions U21 team, scoring four tries in the Under-21 Provincial Championship
Golden Lions and UJ (2016–2017)
Appeared again for UJ in the 2016 Varsity Cup, then signed his first professional contract with the Golden Lions, and made his first class debut for the Golden Lions XV side in their final match of the Currie Cup qualification series against Boland
Represented UJ in the Varsity Cup again in 2017 before making one more first class appearance for the Golden Lions XV in the newly-created Rugby Challenge competition
Included in the Golden Lions squad for the 2017 Currie Cup Premier Division, scored on debut in the competition in Round One match against the Pumas.
Featured in all 13 of the Golden Lions matches with his try contribution helped the team finish in third spot.
Super Rugby and South Africa (2018)
In 2018, Dyantyi was named in the Lions squad for the 2018 Super Rugby season
He was handed his Super Rugby debut on the left wing for their first match of the season against the Sharks. Dyantyi would take just 22 minutes to score his first try in a 26–19 victory He added a few more in the games that followed and established himself as the Lions first choice left wing.
A torn pectoral muscle ruled him out for six weeks but he returned for four matches before the break for the June internationals.
Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus included Dyantyi in the national squad for the June series against England
9 June 2018 – He makes his Springbok debut in the first test and scored a try in their 42–39 victory in the opening test match.
Dyantyi also started their second and third test matches as South Africa win the series 2–1.
Returned to Super Rugby action and helped the Lions finish top of the South African Conference before going on to qualify for the final.
He was named on the bench for the final against the Crusaders as the Lions lost 18–37 against the Crusaders in Christchurch.
Dyantyi’s seven tries was the joint-second most by a Lions player.
He was then named in the Bok squad for the 2018 Rugby Championship. He scored two tries in his first start in this competition – a 34–21 victory over Argentina in Durban.
Started in losses away to Argentina and Australia and scored two tries in the 36–34 win over New Zealand in Wellington.
He also scored a try in the 23-12 win over Australia; this effort coming after just 25 seconds.
Honours and Awards
On 25 November 2018 at the World Rugby Awards in Monaco, Dyantyi was named the World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year – the first South African to win the award.
He notched up six tries in thirteen appearances for the Boks.
On 6 June, he was awarded a contract extension that confirmed that he will stay at the Lions until 2021.
Missed the start of the 2019 Rugby Championship and picked up the injury during training. He also missed the first game against Australia in Johannesburg.
Dyantyi returning to the Golden Lions and spent time undergoing rehabilitation for a hamstring injury.
On 24 August, news breaks that Dyantyi tested positive for an undisclosed prohibited substance on 2 July after a Springbok training camp.