Western Province centre Ruhan Nel’s Springbok ambitions played a big role in his decision to convert from sevens to fifteens on a permanent basis. DYLAN JACK reports.
Nel, who had a temporary stint with Province in their 2017 Currie Cup-winning season, has signed a permanent contract with the union as he seeks to further his career in the 15-man game.
The 27-year-old slotted straight back into the team that beat the Free State Cheetahs 32-0, scoring a try, despite missing the recent tour to France after getting married.
‘That wasn’t a big worry for me,’ Nel told reporters on Monday. ‘I was looking forward to going on a honeymoon and having a bit of a rest, seeing as I only had a couple of days after the Sevens World Cup.
‘In the beginning, I thought it might cost me. Coming back, I was a little worried that I may have missed too much but luckily nothing massive changed overseas. It was just getting those small changes and details right so it was easy to slot in.
‘I was privileged enough to be able to slot right back in after the Sevens World Cup. I did have a good two weeks training against the Springboks. We hosted them here for a training camp, that was my gap to get back into the swing of things.’
Nel says he is going to be using the Currie Cup to help complete his transition, before giving his best to make the Stormers’ Super Rugby squad next year.
‘Short-term, I am just trying to get back into the swing of things. The Currie Cup is a good platform to do that before we hit Super Rugby.
‘I am just trying to convert completely into that fifteens mentality. Come Super Rugby, I am hoping to slot in there and fulfil the role they want me to.’
Nel added that winning the Currie Cup last year, as well as dreams of one day donning the green and gold, helped make his decision to leave sevens for good.
‘It is a dream for everyone to wear that green and gold someday. It is probably one of the biggest reasons why I left sevens. I enjoyed the season with Province so much, and then I still have the dream to play for the Springboks.’
Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images