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    Raymond Rhule chats to Sport24

    2014-05-23 08:58
    Cape Town - In an exclusive interview, injured Cheetahs flyer RAYMOND RHULE talks missing out on Springbok selection, reveals which current wing he most admires in Super Rugby and offers a prediction for this Saturday’s showdown against the Stormers at Newlands...                                                                  
    Sport24 asked: With the Cheetahs having reached the playoffs last campaign, sum up the season from a personal and team perspective

    Raymond Rhule: Frustrating would be the word to best describe both. From a personal perspective, while I enjoyed a good start to the season and was rewarded with game time, injury has hit at the wrong time for me. I will be out of action for around a month now having cracked a rib – there was never anything wrong with my ankle. From a team viewpoint, this season certainly hasn’t gone to plan. Having qualified for the playoffs in 2013, at best, we aimed to win the competition in 2014 and at worst, finish within the top six. Super Rugby is an unforgiving competition and the lesson we’ve learned is that success one season does not necessarily translate into success the next.

    Sport24 asked: A few of your team-mates have cracked the Springbok training squad for the first time. Your reaction and what will it take for you to get back into the Bok fold?

    Raymond Rhule: I always wish the best for my teammates and I believe it represents a great opportunity for Cornal Hendricks, Lood de Jager and Teboho Mohoje to stake their claim. If they are selected for the June series, they must take their playing chances with both hands as I can attest to how difficult it is to get back into the Springbok setup. In order for myself to return to the Bok fold, first and foremost, I need to return from injury, earn game time for the Cheetahs and build consistency of performance in order to once again catch coach Heyneke’s attention.

    Sport24 asked: You’re a big NFL fan. Outline the greatest similarities and differences between rugby union and American football…

    Raymond Rhule: In both codes, there is a need for physicality: either you dominate or get dominated. In terms of differences, I believe that rugby leaves more open to the imagination and that as a player one can play off instinct. Gridiron is far more precise and structured in terms of its makeup and therefore, not as much is done on the spur of the moment. The fact that former Kenyan rugby player Daniel Adongo (who represented the Bulls, Sharks and Kings) made the switch to NFL and is now finding his feet in the sport is amazing, because that is by no means any easy task. All glory to him – he can become a great NFL player. However, I don’t know if I ever see myself doing the same – I would definitely have to bulk up a bit!

    Sport24 asked: Which wing do you most admire in Super Rugby and why?

    Raymond Rhule: In the competition per se, I would opt for the Hurricanes’ Julian Savea. Week-in and week-out his performances are of a high calibre. He possesses a strong work-rate, is physically-imposing and has both pace and vision. He reminds me a lot of the legendary Jonah Lomu who was able to terrorise opposition defences.

    Sport24 asked: First it was the Salmon dance which you and Trevor Nyakane perfected. Tell us about your latest try-scoring celebration

    Raymond Rhule: We’ve dubbed it the Tipi dance and it was actually inspired by Cornal Hendricks. He’s a crazy guy with some impressive dance moves off the field so we wanted to imitate them on-field to entertain the rugby public... We all watched Ashwin Willemse, Naas Botha and Nick Mallett copy the dance in the SuperSport studios – it was nice to have that recognition and I must say they did pretty well.

    Sport24 asked: The Soccer World Cup is fast approaching. Who will you be supporting and why?

    Raymond Rhule: From an African team perspective, I will be backing the Black Stars to shine in Brazil as I was born in Accra, Ghana. I’m also a big fan of hosts Brazil and have always admired their exciting and attacking brand of football.

    Sport24 asked: The Cheetahs head down to Cape Town to face the Stormers. How do you see the SA derby playing out?

    Raymond Rhule: After losing to us in Bloemfontein earlier in the season, the Stormers will be out for revenge. I believe the game will be a cracker. While some are predicting a tight, low-scoring affair, I feel that fans are in for entertaining game with plenty of tries. We hold a naturally attacking mindset and, in turn, the Stormers are now playing with more freedom. I’m tipping the Cheetahs to win the game by eight points and in the process, do the double.

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