Springbok wing Dillyn Leyds has opposed the proposed move of the British & Irish Lions tour to Australia, saying it would be ‘the biggest disappointment in South African rugby history’.
Earlier this week Rugby Australia made the shock announcement that they were offering to host this year’s Lions series. The offer, supposedly altruistically made, has not been well received by many, including Leyds.
‘I would go as far as saying it would be the biggest disappointment in South African rugby history probably. If you put it into perspective. It’s the defending World Cup champions against the best the British and Irish have to offer. It’s a mouthwatering encounter’.
Leyds has not given up on his Springbok dream just yet and is working hard to be in contention for selection come July.
‘The dream of wearing the Springboks jersey will never stop. As a little kid, growing up in South Africa, playing rugby, I don’t think there’s one person that would say they don’t want to play for the Springboks. There’s a bit of doubt over the Lions series, but it’s something I’m pushing hard for.’
Leyds has been in fine form since he made the move from the Stormers to his new French club, La Rochelle. He is coached there by three-times Lions tourist Ronan O’Gara whose dangerous tackle on Fourie du Preez set up Morne Steyn’s series-winning kick in 2009.
Asked whether he’d spoken to O’Gara about that moment, Leyds was coy.
‘I haven’t spoken to him about it. He’s gotten a bit too much stick for that over the years so I don’t think I’ll bring it up with him. Although one of the boys has mentioned it before. We had a quick laugh, but just a quick one, you don’t want to laugh too long about it because it might put your place in the team in jeopardy.’
The Lions board meets on Friday to discuss all potential options for the upcoming tour with a final decision set to be made by the end of March.