The former Sharks and SA u20 player has moved to Scotland. Born in a family of backs, Allan Dell turned out as a prop. However strong similarities can be made between himself and Beast. They both have exceptional abilities in the loose and the tight and can adapt to the physical side of the game whilst at home with ball in hand.
Leandri Diedericks and Benedict Chanakira caught up with the Scotland international aspiring player.
Who is Allan Dell?
Growing up in a farming community surrounded by family taught me the fundamental principles to life. I try live by honesty, reliability, respect and empathy towards others. I am a disciplined, dedicated person and I’m not scared of hard work. I try living my life according to the Queen’s College motto: “Esse Quam Videri” – To be rather than to seem to be .
Tell us about growing up in the home of Eastern Province rugby, moving to The Sharks and playing football.
Growing up in the Eastern Cape, I was fortunate enough to be the 5th generation of Dell’s to attend Queen’s College. They taught me the basic principles of rugby, such as relying on instinct, flair and speed, reading the game and focusing on passion and enjoyment rather than the political aspects of the game. Moving from a small town like Queenstown to a big city like Durban, I had to adapt to my surroundings and it was a massive experience. The Sharks implemented more structure to my game and I’m grateful to them as they gave me my first opportunity. Combining the principles Queen’s College have taught me with the structure of The Sharks, it made me into the player I am today. Growing up on the farm, I used to play football with the youngsters and staff workers. I was never great at football but I still enjoyed playing it.
How is rehabilitation going?
I just finished my rehab program and it has gone really well. I was on a long term injury program and the pectoral has been good for a few weeks now. I had my first contact session with the team and it’s been great to be back and training again and had my first game on Monday, not focusing much on my performance but to get some game time under the belt. The medical staff and conditioning team here are absolutely exceptional. We are a month ahead of schedule so it went great.
What drove you to join Edinburgh? Settling in well, with Anton(Bresler) having joined you?
Firstly it was the opportunity to work with Alan Solomons, who is an outstanding coach and his plans to go forward with the club, and the long term plans to get the club back to the top of European rugby. The coaching staff are exceptional, having many young players who are hungry for success. It helps build a core for the future and build a successful team. It was a great choice to move to Edinburgh for a fresh start, especially joining such an ambitious club with talented players.
I’ve settled in well, the players have been very welcoming and helped with settling in (this one as well). It’s a beautiful city and friendly people and having Anton Bresler, the big signing that he is, joining the club, will bring much success. Also having someone who I’m familiar with and played rugby with, has really helped settling in. It was a good move for both of us coming to such an ambitious club and taking the next step in our careers.
What are your aspirations in Scotland?
My aspirations in Scotland are to get back into playing, getting fit and match fit, and putting myself in the best possible position to contend for a spot on the team and being in the match 23 week in and week out. I’m working on improving my scrummaging, and developing as a forward, especially with scrummaging being a major emphasis in the Northern Hemisphere. My biggest goal for the future will be representing Scotland. It would be a great privilege and honour to be considered for the team. However for now, my focus is on bringing value to the squad, putting the team first and bringing success to the club.
What fond memories do you have about your time at The Sharks?
I have many fond memories of my time at the Sharks. I will always be grateful to them as they gave me my first opportunity to play professional rugby and they helped improve my rugby and smooth out my rough edges. Captaining the u/19 side was a great experience, representing the Baby Boks in the IRB Junior World Championship in 2012 was a great honour, receiving my first cap for the Sharks in the 2012 Currie Cup against the Cheetahs, being included in the Super Rugby squad and learning from great players in world rugby like Tendai Mtawarira, Jannie and Bismarck du Plessis, especially being a young prop, it was a great experience for me. Fondest memory is definitely all the friends I made during my time in Durban.
Tell us something we don’t know about you?
I enjoy reading entrepreneurship books like Reid Hoffman’s “The Start-up of you: Adapt to the future, invest in yourself and transform your career”, and also motivational books like “How to Win friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.
Any special lady in your life?
No, no special lady in my life just yet. The only special woman in my life right now is my mother.
When can we expect you in South Africa again (playing wise)?
I have no idea. You never know what the future holds. I’d love to come back to South Africa to play rugby one day but for now I’m happy in Scotland, with Edinburgh. You never know what’s going to happen next, you just have to enjoy the ride and the moments.