VIDEO: Jury still out on Sevens converts
WATCH as Dylan Michael Sage talks about his conversion from a Sevens star to a 15-a-side rookie.
On the Sevens circuit, Sage was one of the success stories of the game, making 134 appearances for South Africa and two World Series titles with the BlitzBoks.
Now he is reinventing himself in the longer version of the game, admitting that not all Sevens players take to it automatically.
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Sage, 27, made his first Super Rugby start in the 30-12 win over the Lions at Ellis Park at the weekend and played a handful of Currie Cup games with the Blue Bulls last year.
In Johannesburg last Saturday Sage showed signs that he might follow fellow Seven convert and Lions flank Albertus Smith and have a successful 15-a-side career.
In his six carries at Ellis Park, he beat two defenders and passed the ball three times. He made seven tackles, but missed few.
The Cape Town-born and schooled Sage admitted the “jury is still out” on some of the Sevens converts.
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“A guy like Kwagga [Lions flank Albertus Smith] showed that he can do the transition to the 15-man code,”Sage told a media scrum at Loftus Versfeld.
“It is not easy, it is tough,” he said, adding: “You have to try and learn as much as you can from the other players.
“It is about giving the guys time in the system to learn.
“Some players click immediately, some guys take a bit longer.”
He admitted playing inside centre in the 15-a-side game is different from Sevens, where you have plenty of space and time to assess your options.
“It is tough, but I was lucky to have played No.12 in the pre-season. It is not a usual position for me – I normally play No.13.”
He felt it was an advantage to have that utility tag and said in pre-season he learnt a lot from the guys who have played a lot at No.12.
He also does not mind occasionally being a crash-ball runner, despite that going against fibre in his Sevens-honed instinct.
“It is what the coaches need from me,” Sage said, adding: “Some games might stay the same, [but] whatever the coaches say needs to be done.
“I take that in my stride.”
He said he is enjoying his time with the Bulls and is learning a lot from veteran hooker Schalk Brits, who also relocated to Pretoria ahead of the 2019 Super Rugby season.
“He is a champion human and a champion player on the field,” Sage said of Brits.
“You can see from the game he had [against the Lions] last Saturday, he brings a lot to the game.
“He also brings a lot off the field. There is a lot for me to learn and he has a lot of expertise. To have a guy like that in the squad is invaluable.”