Radebe looks to EP for career lifeline

Former Sharks flyhalf Inny Radebe has started training with Eastern Province and could feature for the team if they are included in the Franchise Cup.

The 26-year-old has arrived in the Eastern Cape for a short trial and, according to the Herald, coach Peter de Villiers is enthusiastic about the potential of having Radebe in his squad.

‘It is a sin in South African rugby that a guy like Inny isn’t playing for a big union,’ De Villiers said. ‘He is one of those gifted players who we simply have to make space for, so for me it is a privilege to allow him to direct my backline.

‘He understands precisely where the gaps in the defensive line are, and I think we have to give him an opportunity,’ De Villiers added.

Radebe said that the move isn’t 100% a done deal yet, but added that he is attracted to the possibility of living in the Eastern Cape.

‘It hasn’t been decided that I will be playing for EP, but I am training with the team and I am strongly considering staying here [in Port Elizabeth],’ Radebe said.

Having caught the eye as a schoolboy while representing the Golden Lions at the 2013 U18 Craven Week, the prodigiously talented Radebe joined the Sharks after school and continued to showcase his skills for the UKZN Impi and Sharks U19 team.

Radebe made his senior breakthrough in 2016 at age 22, earning his first Super Rugby cap just a few months later in 2017.

However, he then suffered a knee meniscus tear, which halted his development and would continue to plague his career as a player.

The arrival of Robert du Preez Sr as Sharks coach and the rise of Curwin Bosch and signing of Robert du Preez Jr in 2018 meant limited opportunities for Radebe in Durban.

In 2019, he was without a union contract and forced to play club rugby to keep fit. Towards the end of last year, Radebe trained with the Springbok Sevens team with the hope that he could prove his worth, but his knee again started giving him problems and he was not offered a contract.

Radebe’s frustrations led to him in 2019 releasing a ‘diss track’ where he rapped about some of the frustrations he endured within the system.

The move to Eastern Province could be one that benefits both parties and Radebe’s potential new team will be hoping his knee holds up. Currently, Eastern Province can count on Luvo Classen, who played in the Varsity Shield for Nelson Mandela University last year, as their senior player at flyhalf.

Photo: Michael Green