AUDIO: Lions' marked man
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Springboks and Lions wing Aphiwe Dyantyi has become a marked man during the Super Rugby 2019 season.
Dyantyi made his Super Rugby debut for the Lions in 2018 and quickly propelled himself as one the stand-out performers for the Johannesburg franchise.
His phenomenal impact at the Lions made it extremely difficult not to be included in the Springboks set-up.
He made his international debut against England in June 2018.
However, it was during the Springboks’ famous win over the All Blacks in Wellington, that Dyantyi finally made the world recognised his tremendous talent. He ended the 2018 Rugby Championship as the joint top try-scorer with five tries and concluded the season having scored six tries for the Springboks.
Capping off a scintillating year the wing was rewarded with the World Rugby breakthrough player of the year.
Fast forward to 2019, it seems like Dyantyi has found his second season in Super Rugby more challenging.
Thus far, the wing has only scored three tries having played 515 minutes of Super Rugby.
Not only that, his defensive display, which includes 18 missed tackles, is also a concern for head coach Swys de Bruin as they pursue a playoff berth.
Speaking to reporters at the Lions training session in Johannesburg on Tuesday, Dyantyi admitted he failed to emulate or evens eclipsed last year’s individual success. But has claimed that he is a marked man.
“Having made the noise that I made last year (2018) I would imagine more teams would have taken notice,” said Dyantyi.
“But I mean the focus is not on me and I try not to make it about me, at the end of the day I have 14 other guys who I’m playing with.
“Think if they doing well, we as a collective do well,” explained Dyantyi.
With the Lions fighting for a place in the Super Rugby playoffs and the rugby World Cup in four months time, Springbok and Lions supporters will be hoping that the speedster rediscovers his best form fast.
The Lions take on the Highlanders in Johannesburg on Saturday.
By Josh Isaacson