Johannesburg - It starts with the men’s choir lamenting for Delilah before flames shoot up into the sky. Then there are the almost 75 000 Welsh singing at the top of their voices, followed by the deafening noise of fireworks and then the battle begins.
The Principality Stadium in Cardiff is the pressure cooker that can even overwhelm an experienced rugby player. With this in mind, there was a remarkable calm about the 22-year-old Warrick Gelant the past few days.
But just a short chat with him explains how he manages to maintain his equilibrium.
Potential to develop
“I am a very calm person. What you see is what you get. I’m not one for the flashy things in life. I’m very simple,” he says.
But just when you think this is another shy young Bok who will crawl out of his shell eventually, he adds: “I know what I want in life and nothing will stand in my way if I want to achieve something".
With his two matches on tour – he was a substitute against Italy last weekend – Gelant has started a Bok career that has the potential to develop over most of a decade.
If you look at his record, it is clear that he is destined for it.
Gelant represented the South Western Districts at the Under-13 and Under-18 Craven Weeks, as well as the Grant Khomo Week at Under-16 level. He was a South African schools player in 2012 and 2013, represented the SA Under-20 team in 2014 and 2015, the Blitzboks in 2014 and 2015, and now the Springboks following a Currie Cup campaign in which he was the leading try-scorer.
The full monty, as they say – young Bok, Blitzbok and now a full Springbok.
Whether he will have a long Bok career will depend on several factors – from his personality to how he handles the physical demands of rugby at the highest level.
But what Gelant says he wants to achieve is to be himself and then have a fruitful Springbok career.
Possession of the ball
“Rugby is a big part of my life, but does not rule my life. I’m very focused on what I’m looking for as a person. Values are very important. My circle of friends is very small. I know who has been there before, where I’m heading and who’s with me on the journey. Family is very important and I regard my friends as such,” he says.
“The other thing is respect. If I get respect from you, it will be mutual. Respect and family. These are the things that stand out".
For most of us, what stands out is the trouble Gelant can cause when he is in possession of the ball. Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has sought his salvation partly in that X-factor.
“Each player has the X-factor when it comes to what the coach expects from him. If it’s to run over someone, that’s the X-factor that he brings to the game. I always seek space and try to put someone else in a better position,” says Gelant.
“At Test level, it’s that one chance you get that can determine if you win or lose the game. Your decision-making and what you do – when and how you alternate them – that makes the difference".
Even though rugby is not the alpha and the omega, and he is playing wing rather than his preferred full-back position, Gelant admits he is living his dream.
“I have represented South Africa at different levels, but this is the highlight,” he says.