Gelant raring to go for Bulls
Gareth Duncan - MyPlayers.co,za
Pretoria - Bulls fullback Warrick Gelant is excited to enjoy his rugby after struggling with back-to-back injury setbacks last season.
Gelant proved to be one of the rising stars in South African rugby after excelling for the Junior Springboks, the Springbok Sevens and the Bulls during Super Rugby and the Currie Cup.
The Outeniqua old boy, who hails from Knysna, was noticed as an exciting option at fullback at a young age, showcasing impressive pace and skill - the main reason why he’s known as “Boogey” (Boogie) among his peers.
However, he endured a troublesome 2016 season as he suffered two serious injuries - a broken jaw followed by an ACL tear - which kept him off the field for most of the year.
These were tough blows considering the promising start to his career. However, Gelant was determined to overcome these challenges.
“It was really tough. I’ve seen players suffer similar injuries and they struggled during recovery, so I knew I was going to be sidelined for a long time. It was a reality that I had to accept,” Gelant told MyPlayers.
“Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I knew I had to keep mentally and physically strong. I did my research about my injuries. I approached senior players around me, like Juan de Jongh, Dillyn Leyds, Kurt Coleman, Piet van Zyl and Werner Kok, and they all told me that injuries are part of the game and it was important to rise above the disappointment. Some of them also suffered ACL tears, so they knew how tough recovery was.
“They motivated me to work hard so I could make a strong comeback. So while I didn’t have a chance to play, I was very dedicated during my rehab. I went to Loftus every day from 9 to 5 to work in the gym.
“I’m also lucky to have a strong support system around me, with family and friends offering me great support all the way.”
And it paid off as Gelant ran out for the Bulls this month - the first time he’s played competitive rugby since June.
He played 40 minutes during the Pretoria-based team’s win over the Lions during a warm-up game in Zimbabwe, while he was in impressive form during the recent Brisbane 10s tournament.
The 21-year-old said he’s very happy with his progress so far.
“I’m just happy to be back and playing again. Being away from rugby for so long makes you appreciate the opportunities professional rugby offers you. It’s a privilege to be playing the game as a professional and I’ll definitely make the most of every opportunity given to me,” said Gelant.
“The Brisbane 10s were definitely the highlight of the pre-season. The team showed that we can play an attractive brand of rugby against some of the best rugby players in the world. We managed to make the semi-finals among three New Zealand teams, which proves the Bulls have the talent to embrace attacking rugby.
“We have an exciting team this season. There’s amazing young talent, while the more experienced guys go out of their way to make everyone feel at home. A guy like Jacques Potgieter has returned to Pretoria and he’s been a great example to all of us. He treats the youngest player with the same respect he shows other seniors and coaches. He’s brought plenty of positive vibes to training and that’s rubbing off on the team. As a collective, the players are excited to play Super Rugby this year.”
So what does Gelant hope to achieve this year?
“I’m not looking too far ahead. Like I said, I’m happy to be back and I want to make the most of my playing opportunities with the Bulls during Super Rugby,” said Gelant.
“There’s plenty of healthy competition at fullback within the squad this season, so I’m just focused on giving my best and being consistent for the team. If I put in the hard work, I believe the rewards will follow.”
For more exclusive player content, check out MyPlayers.co.za