Through the years Uniondale in the South Western District became well known for the ghost that rides with you in your car and then disappears and Jeffreys Bay in the Eastern Cape, for international surfing, Writes Auntie Avril Filies.
But nowadays the two towns are synonymous with Dewald Human and Selvyn Davids who is now the talk of the town after the Hong Kong Sevens.
Avril Fillies rugby coach and writer tells us more about these two great sevens players.
“The past three years we were part of the Academy Sevens Team of Marius Schoeman, trained with the Blitsboks and competed in sevens tournaments, mainly in South America, when the Blitsboks were in action on the HSBC Sevens Series.
When we were selected to represent the country as the Blitsboks in Hong Kong, we were not fazed by playing on the big stage. As you know, the Blitsboks were at the Gold Coast in Australia to compete in the Commonwealth Games,” said Dewald.
They young guns of Marius were together since the beginning of the year competing in Chile and Uruguay and they won both tournaments.
“When I was appointed as the captain of the team I had to combine playing and being captain but knowing the players, I took it in my stride.
I also knew that Marius would be available if and when I need advice or was struggling with both tasks. The Hong Kong tournament was also the platform for me to see where I am in the Sevens system and how I measure up against players of the caliber as Jerry Tuwai,” said Dewald.
At the Stellenbosch Academy of Sports (SAS) Selvyn and Dewald train together, work on their weaknesses and can pre-empt what the other one is going to do on the field.
According to both that was key to their success in Hong Kong.
“We knew each other and believed in our abilities. Before we left Cape Town coach Marius said that we must see the Hong Kong tournament as another Academy tournament and not focus on the big names of the teams from Fiji and Scotland that were at full strength for this tournament,” said Selvyn.
“We were aware that we are the underdogs and no-one gave us a chance to do well.
This mentality of the rugby specialists globally suited us well, and we decided as a team that we will play our usual game. Marius knew us well and that was an added bonus.
He didn’t put any pressure on us, just encouraged us to play to the best of our abilities.
The team was aware of the fact that the Hong Kong tournament was the bogey tournament of the Blitsboks since the inception of the HSBC Series and through the years they never performed well.
“I only focused on the games that we played on the day and never paid any attention to the performances of other teams.
I never kept a record of how many tries I scored or my performance in each game of 14 minutes. When we won the bronze medal at the end of the tournament and I was awarded the Player of the Tournament accolade I was shocked and surprised.
When I held the trophy in my hand the first names that I saw was those of Werner Kok and Cecil Africa and I think Rob Vickerman also became aware that I was the third South African whose name will be engraved on the trophy,” Selvyn said.
He received a dragon trophy to take home as his memento, as the Player of the Tournament trophy stays in Hong Kong.
“We kept the deficit of the Blitsboks in tack but at the Singapore tournament relinquished the lead and with the London and Paris tournaments coming up this weekend and the next, Fiji is in the lead.
The Blitsboks is at full strength and will go out guns blazing to defend their HSBC title,” said Dewald.
A biography of the two:
Dewald played U16 or Grant Khomo Weekin 2011 and U18 Craven Week for SWD in 2012 and 2013.
“I was at Outeniqua High in George with players such as Warrick Gelant, Raymond Malan and Diaan van der Merwe when we were selected for the Craven Week team.
It was always my dream to play Sevens and 15’s but now I focus only on Sevens. I admired Cecil Afrika and Branco du Preez and never dreamt that I would play or train with them.
When I was at the Junior Olympics in Australia I met them and that was when I decided I want to be like them,” Dewald said.
In 2015 he was invited by Marius to join the Academy team and was in the Sevens system since then.
“I started playing rugby only in Grade 9 in George as tennis was my first choice of sport.
Hailing from Uniondale it was difficult to adjust to not being around my family and friends and I nearly left school at a young age.
Thanks to my father, Dawid, who encouraged me to complete my school career I am the person and rugby player that I am today. He is the person that believed in me and encouraged me to follow my dream.
Before I joined the Sevens team I played for the U21 team of the Blue Bulls and also the Southern Kings,” Dewald said.
He is studying marketing and sport science as he believes education is important in case your rugby career comes to an end.
Selvyn played for the U19 and U21 teams for the Southern Kings and in 2016 and 2017 for the Griffons.
“I was playing for the Griffons in the Sevens tournament in Nelspruit when Marius and Paul Delport scouted me for the Academy team and as the saying goes, the rest is history,” he said.
His rugby career started when he was only six years old a the Pellsrus Primary School in Jeffreys Bay and continued until he completed his high school career at the High School Nico Malan, also in Jeffreys Bay.
“I always admired Cecil in the Blitsbok team and he also hails from the Eastern Cape, also something that we have in common. He is a skillful player, calm and collected under pressure and knows what to do in certain situations.
According to me he is one of the number one players in Sevens in the world. The world acknowledge this when he was the World Sevens Player of the Year in 2011 and he received his trophy at the Rugby World Cup in Auckland, New Zealand,” Selvyn said.
His Mum Nellie is the person that influenced his rugby and personal career.
“My teacher at primary school and the 1st team coach at high school both played a major role in my rugby career and the person that I am today.
My focus is now on Sevens only and when I pull the jersey over my head, I play for the badge on my heart. I don’t have time for hobbies but am trying to play golf,” he chuckled.