Cape Town - Springbok utility back Dillyn Leyds says his time off through injury last year helped reignite his passion for the game.
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The 24-year-old has bounced back from a serious knee injury in 2016 and has returned with added mental strength in 2017.
In 10 months, Leyds has gone from being a Stormers regular in Super Rugby, to earning a call-up to the Springboks for the French Series and the Rugby Championship.
Leyds also started the final two Rugby Championship Tests and was the big winner at the recent Western Province RFU awards ceremony, picking up the Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player.
Leyds said last season's injury helped him realign his ambitions and outlook on the game.
"I had a lot of time to think about where I can improve and can get better, and the one thing I said to myself was that it doesn’t matter if I’m playing or not, I just want to enjoy what I’m doing.
"I think a lot of times before that, I put a lot of pressure on myself to play the perfect game every weekend, but obviously in this industry that’s never going to happen. So I went back to enjoying myself.
"I always want to feel like I’m that seven-year-old kid who started playing rugby in the Strand, and I think that was important for me, just to get that enjoyment back", Leyds told SARugbyMag.
Leyds has always been able to prosper in various positions in the backline at a professional level, but admits he would like to settle on one position as soon as possible.
"I’ve enjoyed being able to contribute in different positions where required, but settling in one spot is a discussion that does need to take place," Leyds commented.
"There are pros and cons to being seen as a utility player, so I do need to give it some thought, and chat with the coaches about where they see my future. I don’t have a particular preference right now, though."