Benedict Chanakira spoke to Louis Ludik
BC- Hi Louis, how are you?
Im very good thanks and hope you are well Benedict. Enjoying the french lifestyle a lot.
BC- How are you settling in France? Is Ross Skeate helping?
Im settling in nicely thanks, yes skeato is helping a lot. His french is very good so he is translating for us almost the whole time.
BC- How is your french? Are you fluent yet?
Hahaha. No not yet. Learning everyday but its a tough language to learn. Enjoying it though. We have french classes twice a week.
BC- Have you managed to meet up with ex-Sharks players over there in France?
Yes we have hooked up with Rory in Castres, Jandre marais in Bordeaux and after games we eat with the other team so get a chance to talk to the other south africans then. There is a lot of us here…
BC- Who has been the toughest Team and player you have faced recently??
Lyon and la rochelle is very tough.
We played Aurillac this last weekend and played against a wing, valintin and he gave me a big handoff, very strong guy!!!
BC- What do you miss most about South Africa?
I miss my family and friends and understanding what everyone say.
BC- You have thrived in the utility player role and was regarded as one of the most reliable players in South Africa. Are you in a similar role in France or are you finding
yourself in one position?
Yes also finding myself in a utility role at the moment. Playing 13 a lot at the moment but would like to play 15. The fullback at Agen is a very good young player and is doing well so its no use leaving him out.
BC- You currently play in Top 14 D2. How are your promotion hopes looking?
Yea playing in the Pro D 2. We did very well a couple in the 1st half of the comp but had a couple of losses of late. We are 4th at the moment so going to very tough work going up.
BC- France, infact European countries are known for their great variety in fashion. How is Chame enjoying it?
Chame is loving it. Everything is just extremely expensive in france and we are still converting everything from € to Rand. So we have to get use to everything being much more expensive that SA
BC- What destinations have you visited in your time there? What was the most appealing place?
Two weeks ago we drove to Monaco and saw a couple of place on the South-east coast. We loved Nice, Cassis and saw Aix- en Provence, saw freddy and his family in Toulon.
Stayed in Nimes and saw Arles as well. Unbelievable places. We are so blessed and thank full to see these place.
BC- How have you found French Rugby? How would you rank it against Southern Hemisphere rugby?
Im very impresses with the Pro D 2. I didnt think the level is going to be so high. There is a lot of talent in France. The professionalism just isn’t here in this level as in the south. A lot of players havent have that mindset yet.
BC- Away games in France have widely been rumored to be not as important. As teams often send under strength teams. Is this the case?
Yes normally they do send a ‘weaker’ team to play away, but its very important to rest the players as it is a very long season over here.
BC- Your friend Rory Kockott may well be a French Test player in a couple of months. Would you one day hope to use the residency rule to play Test Rugby?
Yes he is doing very very well over here. Im very happy for him. If it happen and if its what God wants for me i would be grateful but its not a thing about constantly thinking or dreaming about. Im just enjoying rugby and life at the moment and working hard to find my feet.
BC- Is Super Rugby watched in Europe? How big is its fan base?
Yes it is. Its not as big as I thought. Most of the players watch the Top 14. Which is the top french league. There are a lot of games and good quality.
BC- Do you have any plans in place after rugby? A return to South Africa?
Im still studying. I would like go into sport conditioning after rugby but im still doing my bcom accounting as well.
BC- As a former Sharks player, you have quite a fan base in Zimbabwe. Would you consider an invitation for a visit to talk and inspire our future rugby stars?
Yes for sure it would be a great honor.