Guest writer Benedict Chanakira gets 10 minutes with Pumas Sabelo Nhlapo
Who is Sabelo?
I’d like to think that I’m a simple oke who’s been blessed with a great family, friends and who has a passion for rugby and sport.
You are a Sharks Academy graduate, and like many, have managed to gain success elsewhere. What has been the motivation?
The motivation is to be the best, I love the game and I have always had this inner belief that I can always do better, I just take it a day at a time and I just try to be better today than I was yesterday. I have the faith to believe that everything will fall into place.
Tell us about your move from Lock/Flank to Prop?
Haha, I didn’t see that coming. It ws never my plan, in 2008 after SA U20 I had planned to move to flank because I wasn’t the tallest of locks. I got injured and was out for with a thumb fracture and in that time it was decided by The Sharks coaches that I’d play prop on my return, I haven’t looked back since. It’s a challenge, all the time, but it’s great because it humbles me and keeps me on my toes because I’m still learning and trying to get better and better.
You have won quite a lot of silverware; Club Championship and Varsity Cup (twice) to mention a few. Which was the most special?
My favourite medal would have to be the silver medal we got at the u19 World Cup in 2007. Even though we fell short as a team, that meant the most to me and my confidence going forward because I had achieved something that I didn’t even believe I could do up to that point. Coming from a development rugby school, not playing Craven Week, a lot of other challenges at that point made it seem impossible, but for myself and the people that believed in me and helped me get there it felt like a crowning moment of sorts. So that’s my favorite because of who I got to share it with.
From Pretoria to Boland? How was the transition?
It was tough but great, that was purely a rugby decision, there was little emotion in that decision. I just needed to be at a place where I could play regularly against better competition and Boland offered and gave me that. It ws cool off the field too because of where Boland is situated, the people and the sights. I also got to meet people that helped me get closer to God. So, All in all, it was a great experience.
You have had to deal with numerous injuries, what keeps you going?
Injuries always make you grateful for what you have, so you always want to come back bigger and better when you do heal up and that’s what keeps me going. I try to be positive about the things that I have no control over and to just move forward with what I can.
Four words to describe Jimmy Stonehouse?
I only need 3… ADAPT OR DIE!! Lol… His approach kind of toughens you up, he’s a no nonsense kinda guy.
Do you guys gym with him?
Sometimes we rock up to the gym and he’s already pumping weights. I’m yet to see him do K-Fit with us though… Lol
Your last injury; what happened?
I fell awkwardly during a drill at training and I hyperextended my elbow which caused me to fracture my elbow and tear the attachments to my tricep. Quite a nasty one, but it’s going to leave a beautiful nasty scar, so I guess that’s the bonus.
You have joined up with the Pumas, the most exciting rise to the top story in 2013. What are your aims for the 2014 Currie Cup?
I will be out for the rest of the year so I unfortunately can not play, so I’m going to focus on my rehabilitation and use the time out to strengthen other problem areas of my body.