Dylan Sage has confirmed his move away from the Vodacom Bulls to a French club and opens up about how the change could affect his availability for the Blitzboks in the lead-up to and at the 2021 Olympic Games. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
The 28-year-old Sage is a veteran Blitzbok, but joined the Bulls’ Super Rugby squad in 2019. He has since made nine appearances in the competition. Unfortunately, Sage fractured his ankle before the start of the 2020 season and was ruled out for three months.
A lot has happened during his three-month recovery period: The 2020 season was brought to an abrupt and indefinite halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, Jake White has come in as Bulls director of rugby and later as head coach after Pote Human vacated the position.
It has now come to light that Sage will not get another chance to play for the Bulls. Speaking to SARugbymag.co.za, he not only confirmed his Loftus exit but also his move to an unnamed French club.
‘I just wasn’t really in the Bulls’ plans for the future, so it was time for me to move onto something new. There was speculation that I’m off to Japan, but I’m going to France,’ Sage said.
He explained that the decision to further his career overseas was a difficult but necessary one.
‘There were a lot of thing I had to consider and it’s a longevity thing as well. I want to play for as long as I can and I want to be able to take care of myself and my family,’ Sage commented.
‘So there were a lot of different things, like where the markets are now and where the future of rugby lies, to consideration. There were five or six different things or aspects I looked at – life in rugby, life outside of rugby – and I said to myself where would I be better suited and I think the decision was I would be best suited at the club I’m going to now.’
French clubs are notorious for their refusal to release their foreign imports for national duty even if it is for World Rugby-sanctioned international tournaments. And Sage says it’s not yet clear at this stage whether or not he would be allowed to play for the Blitzboks in the lead-up to and even at the highly-anticipated Olympic Games next year.
‘There’s no confirmation on that yet. Obviously my main focus now is to get overseas to my new club and try and do as well as I can there. That’s my primary focus for now, I’m not going to speculate on anything going forward,’ he said.
‘But I obviously would still love to go to the Olympics, that’s always going to be the dream.’
Photo: Johan Rynners/Gallo Images