Senatla relishes dual rugby role

2015-11-23 12:02
Seabelo Senatla (Supplied)

Cape Town - Whether it’s in green and gold of a Springbok Sevens jersey or the blue and white hoops of Western Province, Seabelo Senatla is recognised as an exciting talent.

It’s not easy playing both formats of rugby, but the 22-year-old is excelling in each code.

He’s a regular starter on the World Rugby Sevens Series circuit, and his outstanding form last season saw him clinch a place in the 2014/15 Dream Team and nominated for World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year (which Werner Kok eventually won).

He has also played for the Stormers in Super Rugby, and is currently representing the Cape Town union during the Currie Cup - the same competition he won with the team last year.

He also earned a surprise Springbok call-up in 2014, which saw him travel with the national team to Europe in November.

Senatla says he wants to make the most of all opportunities that come his way.

“I’m really enjoying my rugby. I appreciate everything coming my way at the moment. I want to make full use of these chances,” Senatla told MyPlayers. “Playing both codes has added to my development.

“All sevens players will tell you how the game adds so much to your development. I have become a better player because of sevens, especially when it comes to speed, explosiveness and skills.

“Fifteens rugby adds something else to your game, especially when it comes to physicality and off-the-ball contributions. I’ve raised my overall worth ethic. It’s not always easy adapting between each formats of rugby, because they’re two different games, but as you gain the necessary experience and you manage to settle in, things get better.”

Other players who have impressed in both codes include Cornal Hendricks, Cheslin Kolbe, Warren Whiteley, Kwagga Smith and Ruhan Nel.

Senatla is happy to see his team-mates excel on the 15s stage, and believes this will strengthen the Blitzboks’ challenge for sevens honours.

“It’s great to see the guys do well. It’s also weird facing them as opponents during the Currie Cup and Super Rugby… a good weird! We will always remain friends and sevens team-mates after that final whistle,” said Senatla.

“It’s going to put the sevens game in a good position ahead of the next sevens season. We have a shortened and intense World Series campaign, which will prepare us for the Olympics in Rio in 2016.

“It’s an exciting time for all sevens players. We want to do our best, fulfil our potential and win tournaments. We also believe we are good enough to win gold at the Olympics. I’d love to be part of that journey and make South Africa proud.”

While life is very exciting for Senatla on the field, he has exciting plans off it too. He’s a strong believer that players need to obtain their qualifications and prepare for life after rugby.

“When I was done with school, I went for personality tests to highlight my interests and possible career choices. This helped me decide that marketing was something I really wanted to get into,” said Senatla.

“The tough reality is that a professional rugby career does make life very busy. However, it’s very important to make the sacrifices, especially at a young age. It might take a bit longer, but a big goal is to complete a degree in marketing, which will put me in a good position when I retire from the game.”


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