Raymond Rhule’s time in France with newly-crowned European champions La Rochelle has taught him to be more assertive when it comes to speaking his mind.
Rhule was made the fall guy for some of the Springboks’ disappointing results in 2017, which included the 57-0 thrashing at the hands of the All Blacks in Albany where he won the last of his seven Test caps.
However, a move to France – first with Grenoble and then to La Rochelle – has allowed Rhule to gain some perspective on his career.
The 29-year-old has been in sensational form over the past few years, scoring a try in this season’s Champions Cup final to help La Rochelle stun favourites Leinster.
In a wide-ranging interview with Sport24, Rhule explained that he has found his voice in France and hopes that other South African rugby players do the same.
“You’ve got to be politically correct and you can’t be in a grey area. It’s either you are black or white,” Rhule said. “I personally think that guys need an outlet and, if you look at American sport and other sports, guys are able to say what they feel.
“I’m reminded of a [Varsity Shield final] where the captain was expected to make the normal speech, but he spoke what was on his mind and heart.
“That clip went viral because people like the truth. The truth may hurt and it’s not what you want to hear, but when people speak the truth, it’s appreciated.”
“I’m not disappointed, I’m proud! I’m 23 years old as captain, ek is lief for joune manne!” 🤗
One of the 𝙗𝙚𝙨𝙩 post-match interviews you’ll ever get to see with Siyasanga Ngubelanga, captain of the CPUT team that lost the Varsity Shield final to Fort Hare Blues 🎙️ pic.twitter.com/LFh5pgMjMf
— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) April 23, 2022
Rhule added that while he would still want to represent South Africa again, it’s no longer the centre of his ambition, which has allowed him to find joy in his rugby again.
“I’m past that now. I play to enjoy myself. I’m around a lot of teammates here and international selection is the last thing on our mind.”
Photo: Getty Images