South Africa’s rugby world champion and adidas ambassador has seemingly done it all - but he is nowhere near done.


I was playing for the Stormers in 2019 and I picked up a knee injury. At that stage of the year, I didn’t know if I would even make the World Cup. But I stayed with the Springboks the whole time.

I had to cycle on a stationary bike in the gym while the rest of the team was training. And I hated it. I really had to dig deep. Why do I hate cycling in the gym? Well, you’re seemingly going as fast as you can, but, yet, you aren’t moving… anywhere!

Some people think that just because you’re kept in the extended national rugby squad, you are automatically still set to make the final World Cup team.

But that’s not the mindset I had. I knew I had to work hard to make the trip to Japan.

Having made the squad, we then lost that first game against New Zealand and I felt out of place. I started to doubt myself, I started to think ‘is it actually good for me to be here? Am I not bringing the team down?’.

But coach Rassie Erasmus was amazing. He told us our form would come as long as we had the hunger for it and that we continued to work hard.

There’s nothing greater than that feeling when you know you have a challenge - but it’s just you that knows, and you battle with it in your head - those are the toughest challenges. And me coming through, along with my teammates, that was quite special.


I have had to overcome a few challenges in my life and my career to get where I am today and those challenges have always helped me ‘stay in the fight’ as a professional rugby player.

I was raised by people that did not let me focus on the problem, but, rather, to focus on what I had at the time. For me, not having a lot, did not matter. It was not about what we did not have, but rather making use of what we had. I remember when I was a kid I did not have toys. The other kids had cars and stuff. I had a brick that I used as my car and I loved the brick more than my friends loved their cars and it did not affect me at all.

The toughest thing for me since our World Cup win has been to hit the reset button. I have to start fresh enough to focus on what is ahead of me and I have to make sure I am better than I was yesterday. Every time I get on the field, I must be better each day. Every time I am in the gym, I must be better each day.

I would still like to achieve so much more! You can never look at what you achieved yesterday and think that is the best thing ever. You should always look forward to more, and you can only do that by working much harder than you did the day before.

This change is not only for me, it’s for everybody else. And that is what I intend to focus on in the coming years. My biggest dream is to build a school in my old township. Not just a simple school, but a Model C School that offers kids, in the townships, everything that they would normally get outside of the townships – like I got when I attended Grey High School.

Long term, perhaps we could build more than just one school. How about one in every province? I don’t want kids to have to go through what I went through. We have the power to create change now and if we don’t do it, who is going to do it?

This motivates me to be better every day. You need this kind of motivation – bigger motivation than just being for you.