In an exclusive interview for the latest SA Rugby magazine, former Springbok Hilton Lobberts offers a searingly honest recount of a career blighted by broken promises.
In the latest edition, now on sale, we’ve sought to explore some of the background stories you rarely get to read or hear about. In this regard, look no further than one of the most compelling exclusive interviews with Lobberts.
He is a player some may have forgotten about, but the twice-capped former Springbok grabbed a few headlines once again at the beginning of the year when he featured in a pre-season game for the Stormers.
Lobberts is currently playing club rugby at Hamiltons in Cape Town, but you will find out that he is in fact looking to move on from rugby, with the 33-year-old desperately searching for a sustainable income to support his family.
As he documents in the Q&A with senior contributor Ryan Vrede, Lobberts has experienced both the best and worst of what rugby can offer.
Lobberts says he was convinced by former Bok coach Heyneke Meyer to move to the Vodadcom Bulls in 2006, and admits that it was a decision that literally saved his life, believing he would have otherwise been led down a path of gangsterism in Paarl East.
However, he very quickly learned that money does not buy happiness.
‘It wasn’t what I expected it to be, especially money-wise,’ he reflects. ‘I didn’t have a degree and for some reason, players with a degree who weren’t better than me, got better contracts. There were a lot of coaches who took advantage of me because they saw me as stupid and desperate.’
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Lobberts goes on to explain that he never had the support or know-how to cope with his sudden financial windfall: ‘Money confused me. When I had it, I didn’t strive to be the best any more. I got comfortable.’
After suffering some disappointments on and off the field – Lobberts opens up on the particular coaches who let him down – he admits that he now has ‘almost nothing left from rugby’.
It’s an interview that will leave you both moved and perhaps taken aback by Lobberts’ forthright honesty that is often difficult to find. After a spell with the Pumas, he has now returned to the Cape in the hopes of finding a long-term job.
‘I came home to support my wife and kids in their dreams and ambitions. I was called up to the Stormers for a pre-season game, but I don’t care if I play for the Stormers or any professional team again. I’m trying to move on with my life.’
Read this full interview in the latest issue of SA Rugby magazine, where the exclusive Inny Radebe story is also sure to resonate on a similar level.
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images