Stranded Bok 'keen' to return home
UPDATE: Springboks hooker Malcolm Marx remains optimistic despite being stuck in Japan during the coronavirus lockdown.
Marx seems likely to remain stranded in Japan for the foreseeable future after he was not able to catch a flight back to South Africa due to the global COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown.
The 25-year-old was playing for the Shining Arcs in the Japan Rugby Football Union’s Top League competition when it got cancelled due to pandemic on March 23.
The Lions hooker Marx has been a revelation for his Japanese club the Shining Arcs, who ended the season in the fifth position on the log after six games and four wins.
South Africans with Marx there in Japan in the colours of the Arcs were former Lions teammates Sylvian Mahuza and Robert Kruger as well as Willie Britz and coach Hugh Reece-Edwards.
Others currently still stuck with Marx in the Land of the Rising Sun are RG Snyman, Damian de Allende, Matthys Basson, Lionel Cronje, Jean Droste and Jason Jenkins.
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“Luckily there are still some South Africans here with me. It helps quite a bit to have each other here, it’s quite nice,” Marx said from his home in Ichikawa city, Chiba Prefecture in the Kantō region.
The situation in Japan is much worse than in South Africa. They have urged their citizens this week to stay home, as media reports warned that as many as 400,000 people in Japan could die of the coronavirus without urgent action.
Japan, which tests only people with symptoms of the coronavirus, has so far recorded more than 8 000 infections with nearly 200 deaths.
When asked how he was coping, Marx said: “We are doing alright and still able to go to the gym which helps to stay in shape and as fit as possible. Everyone is still very cautious and doing everything that is needed.
“It helps that we can still go to the gym, but to be honest the fitness you do in the gym is very different from what you do on the rugby field.”
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Marx said the rugby experience in Japan has been everything that he expected it to be.
“I played two warm-up games before the league started and we had six league matches. It was an experience to see what the Japanese style of rugby is. All the games were very tough and I learnt quite a bit about Japanese rugby.
“[Having said that] I am keen to get back to South Africa and join the Lions family again. Hopefully, we can start training soon and back into games. I really missed my Lions family very much.
He added: ” Having meat off the braai and South African food are the things I definitely miss. And obviously being away from the family, I miss the family and friends.”