Western Province U21 player Mike Andrade got the shock of his life when he recently received a call from the Portuguese Rugby Union to invite him to play for his mother country, Portugal in the World Rugby Cup of Nations.
We caught up with Mike to find out about this incredible experience.
How did it happen that you got selected to play for Portugal?
My family is Portuguese, so somehow the Portuguese Rugby Union tracked me down. I got a call from the PRU president about 3 weeks ago. He asked me if I would be interested to play for Portugal. I did not even hesitate for a minute. I immediately accepted the invitation and I was off to the camp in Lisbon.
What tournament are you guys competing in at the moment?
We are playing in the World Rugby Cup of Nations in Hong Kong.
What other teams are taking part in this tournament?
Hong Kong, Russia and Zimbabwe
Tell us about your first game?
My first match was against the host Nation Hong Kong. We lost the match 13-6 but it was very close. The team did well after a very hard and physical match against Russia. Making my debut was amazing. It was an incredible feeling pulling my jersey over my head for the first time singing the national anthem. It is such a great honour and feeling, I struggle to put it in to words.
How do you feel about playing 10 as opposed to 12 as we have seen you play in the past?
I am enjoying the fly-half position and its definitely my favourite place to play from.
How do you communicate with your team mates on and off the field?
Well my Portuguese is not too bad, but I do mix it up with English. But on the field we speak only Portuguese.
Are there any other players in your team from South Africa?
No I am the only one from South Africa.
Would you like to keep playing for Portugal?
If I am lucky enough to be selected again, I would love to play for Portugal as much as possible.
Where are you guys staying in Hong Kong?
At the Regal Riverside Hotel in Hong Kong
How is the food and what have you tried?
The food is great at the hotel. We get a big variety of food at every meal. I tend to go for the chicken, pasta and sushi every time.
When are you returning to South Africa?
I am flying back on the 25 of November
Whats are your plans and goals for 2016?
I will be continuing my studies at the University of Stellenbosch. I would like to play for them in the Varsity Cup and hopefully get selected for WP under 21 side in the Currie Cup.
What will you be doing during the Christmas break?
I feel that with all the time away from home this year, I am looking forward to spending some time at home with my family.