Ismaiel making most of life at Bulls

    2015-06-10 14:33

    Pretoria - Bulls wing Travis Ismaiel is making the most of his senior opportunities this season.

    Looking back to 2010, when Ismaiel was in his matric year at Tygerberg High School in Cape Town’s northern suburbs, he admitted that he had no plans to be a professional rugby player.

    “I wasn’t making the Western Province provincial age-group teams, so I wasn’t planning to take my rugby further,” Ismaiel told

    “However, I managed to catch the attention of a few scouts from the Bulls during a 1st XV game for Tygerberg. I think we were playing against SACS or Boland Landbou, and I was playing some good rugby that year.

    “They were impressed with my game and saw my potential, and asked if I was interested in a move to Pretoria to play for the Bulls.

    “I was very surprised, and really appreciated the offer. For me, it was an easy decision to join a big union like the Bulls.”

    Since then, Ismaiel has worked his way through the rugby ranks in Pretoria, living up to his promise.

    He has represented the Bulls at Under-19, Under-21 and Vodacom Cup levels since 2011, and also played Varsity Cup for Tuks in 2013. He also earned national colours as he was part of the Junior Springbok squad that won the Junior World Championship in 2012.

    This season, he made his Super Rugby debut for the Bulls, and earned his first start last weekend against the Rebels in Melbourne.

    “I’m very happy to receive these opportunities this season. My initial goal was to play Super Rugby, which I’ve achieved, and I’ve really enjoyed the experience so far,” said Ismaiel.

    “It was also my first trip overseas with the Bulls, and it was great playing in different conditions. My goals now are to keep my place in the senior squad and establish my spot in the match-day team.”

    The Bulls suffered a disappointing overseas tour, losing all four of their fixtures in Australia and New Zealand, which ended their hopes of qualifying for the playoffs.

    However, Ismaiel said the players are focused on ending the Super Rugby campaign on a positive note against the Cheetahs in Pretoria ahead of the Currie Cup campaign in August.

    “The guys were obviously disappointed with the results, but we are looking forward to return to winning ways against the Cheetahs this weekend. We want to deliver a good performance and secure a good result, especially for the fans,” said Ismaiel.

    Off the field, Ismaiel has adapted to life in Pretoria.

    “I do miss all my family and friends back at home. I try to visit them as often as possible,” said Ismaiel.

    “I’ve adapted to life in Pretoria. It’s a smaller town, but I manage to keep myself busy. I’m here to advance my rugby career and to make the most of my opportunities, and I’m happy with my progress so far.

    “I spend some time with guys like Rudy Paige, Bjorn Basson and Akona Ndungane. When we’re not on the rugby field, we spend time at the hot spots around town and play some PlayStation. I’ve started playing golf with the boys this year... and so far, I’m not that bad!”

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