In a feature that appeared in SA Rugby magazine, we caught up with former Griquas and Cats player Jearus Nicholas.
Jearus Nicholas is best remembered for his outrageous swan-dive celebrations, which were more than mere showboating.
‘My fiancé gave me R Kelly’s I Believe I Can Fly CD as a gift, so initially the diving was a show of appreciation,’ he says. ‘After a while, a sponsor came on board and paid me to do it, and with that money I was able to pay for our wedding.’
During his six-year tenure at Griquas between 1998 and 2003, Nicholas set a number of records on his way to becoming one of the union’s greatest imports. With an astonishing 61 tries in 116 games, he is still Griquas’ all-time top try-scorer and third most-capped player in history.
‘Scoring four tries in my first game, against North West, settled the nerves and set the tone for the remainder of my time with Griquas,’ he says. ‘And I have [coach] André Markgraaff to thank. When I was playing for Tygerberg [in the Western Cape], Peter de Villiers organised that I attend trials at Griquas. André gave me a shot and I am happy that I could repay him by adding value to the team.’
Following a 23-try debut season in 1998, Nicholas was included in the Cats’ Super 12 squad and played in four games: against the Sharks, Brumbies, Waratahs and Highlanders.
‘Some of the best-ever players featured in those teams, and sharing a field with high-calibre guys like Henry Honiball, Joe Roff, Matt Burke and Brian Lima was a major personal achievement for me.’
On a lighter note, Nicholas is quick to exonerate his diving theatrics after it was credited as the cause of his freakish collarbone break during a Currie Cup game against Western Province.
‘I put a hit on an opposition player in their 22 and I remember the moment we made contact I felt pain, but I made a turnover and scored. It was at Newlands and I had to perform the dive. I was taken off and people assumed I was injured while diving, but it was actually in the tackle.’
LIFE AFTER RUGBY
Nicholas called time on his playing days at the conclusion of the 2003 Currie Cup and ventured into the business world.
‘By then I had a well-established pre-school in Kimberley,’ he says. ‘Not playing allowed me to be more involved in the day-to-day running of the school.’
That was followed by a startup company – Mayibua’s Glass and Aluminum Manufacturer – in 2004, but when the Nicholas family moved to George both businesses were sold.
Nicholas is also a qualified personal trainer and massage therapist, a level three first-aid responder and a level two World Rugby coach.
‘I’m currently employed in the George Municipality’s sport and recreation department and am an assistant coach at the Progress RFC.’
Nicholas and wife Sylvia have been married for 19 years and have two children, Jerishia (18) and Shaun (14).
‘Jerishia is in Grade 12 and has an artistic streak. She loves music and is a vocalist in the South Cape Children’s Choir. Shaun plays rugby and hockey at school, but is more focused on chess. He is an excellent chess player.’
Since the family’s move to George in 2015 they have joined several community projects and helped out at a few charity events.
By Mariette Adams