Cape Town - Seabelo Senatla's successful 2014 season has given him the confidence to continue his impressive form this year.
Senatla still speaks about 2014 with a big smile on his face. And who could blame him? He experienced a dream season as he excelled in both sevens and 15s rugby, proving that players can make an impact in both formats.
The 21-year-old speedster, who turns 22 on February 10, helped the Springbok Sevens side claim the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland, and the Dubai and PE tournament titles, elevating South Africa to the top of the Sevens World Series standings. He is currently the top try-scorer in the World Series with 20.
He also made his Super Rugby debut for the Stormers and impressed for Western Province in the Currie Cup, helping the Cape side to the domestic title. This earned him a Springbok call-up to the end-of-year tour to Europe.
"Last year was amazing!" Senatla told MyPlayers.co.za. "I really enjoyed the experience of playing sevens and 15s rugby. I learned a lot and I'm happy with the way I performed.
"The highlights were definitely winning the Commonwealth Games medal, winning the Currie Cup title with Western Province and experiencing my first home sevens tournament in PE.
"My parents, who watched me play live for the first time at the Currie Cup final at Newlands, watched me play sevens live for the first time in PE. That meant a lot to me. The crowd also supported the team really well and there was an awesome atmosphere. I could hear the fans screaming for me whenever I got the ball, which gave me a lot of confidence.
"The Springbok call-up was also a big deal for me, although I didn't play any games on tour. I got to experience the Springbok environment and saw how things work in the national squad. I definitely learned things I didn't know before... like the preparing for my position and fine-tuning my skills. I did a lot of practice under the high ball!
"I also got to meet and mingle with the players," added Senatla. "I spoke a lot to Jean de Villiers, who I also spent time with in the Stormers squad. I also got to train with Springbok Sevens team-mate Cornal Hendricks in 15s for the first time."
So what's set for Senatla in 2015?
He'll be committed to the Springbok Sevens side for the rest of the World Series, which ends in London, England on May 17.
He will then be available for to play for the Stormers in Super Rugby. The Stormers will have four league fixtures left at that stage - against the Rebels (May 23), Cheetahs (May 30), Lions (June 6) and Sharks (June 13).
He hopes to make an impact in both codes.
"My main goal is helping the Springbok Sevens do well in the World Series. We want to win more tournaments and the overall title," said Senatla. "Then I hope to play a few games for the Stormers during Super Rugby. I really enjoyed 15s experience last year, and would love more of it this season.
"The big goal this year is making the Springbok World Cup squad. I enjoyed being part of the team in Europe, and believe I can add value at the tournament later this year. I hope I can earn my opportunity."
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