Shock waves went through South African rugby yesterday after it was confirmed that one of Springbok rugby’s brightest stars, Aphiwe Dyantyi, tested positive for a banned substance on the eve of the World Cup squad announcement.
Dyantyi, who has denied taking a banned substance, was tested during a Springbok exercise camp.
“I want to deny ever taking any prohibited substance, intentionally or negligently, to enhance my performance on the field. I believe in hard work and fair play. I have never cheated and never will,” said Dyantyi in a press release issued yesterday.
“We have requested that my ‘B sample’ be tested and will have feedback during the course of the next couple of days,” he said.
The Springbok squad of 31 players, which will travel to Japan for the World Cup, is due to be announced in Randburg tomorrow.
Last year, the 24-year-old Dyantyi was World Rugby’s breakthrough player of the year and one of Rassie Erasmus’ big success picks as Springbok coach. He has not been able to play in any tests this year as a result of a hamstring injury.
“I want to apologise in advance to my team-mates and management at the Lions and Springboks, and my friends and my family for the negative impact this news may have.
“Personally, this game has given me an opportunity to inspire not only young rugby hopefuls, but South Africans across all walks of life. That is something I do not take for granted and something I would definitely not risk with a stupid act like this.”
Dyantyi said he would now be putting all his energy into proving his innocence and would not be providing further comment on the matter.
In his press release, Dyantyi placed the following on record:
- “As professional sportsmen on national and international level, we get tested on a regular basis. I have been tested before, and again since this test. It is part of the job and we all know that each and every player is bound to get tested at least two to four times a year;
- “Taking any prohibited substance would not only be irresponsible and something that I would never intentionally do, it would also be senseless and stupid; and
- “I underwent a drug test on June 15 2019 [only two weeks prior to the July 2 testing] that did not return any adverse finding.”
In a short period of time, Dyantyi has proven himself to be a rugby artist.
His rugby dreams began at Dale College. He then gave up rugby, before his friends at the University of Johannesburg convinced him to start playing again.
The rest is history. He is a try maverick. He notched up impressive tries at residence level, club level and in the Varsity Cup.
This continued after his provincial debut and at Super Rugby level for the Lions.
Dyantyi wore the Springbok jersey for the first time against England last year. He scored a try in his first test, with the Boks beating England 43-29.
Dyantyi also scored tries in his second and third test for the Boks.
He has played for the Springboks 13 times, and scored six tries before winning World Rugby’s breakthrough player of the year award in Monaco last year.
The award is usually given to the best young player in international rugby.
When Dyantyi made his debut, his Lions coach, Swys de Bruin, described him as a “future rugby legend”.
Dyantyi is not the first Springbok to have tested positive for a banned substance.
Lock Johan Ackermann, who coaches at Gloucester these days, was the first to test positive. He was banned for two years.
Springboks Chiliboy Ralepelle and Bjorn Basson also tested positive in 2010 during the Springbok tour to Europe. A banned substance was found in their urine samples. Both pleaded not guilty and were excused because the stimulant was given to them erroneously.
Ralepelle again tested positive for performance enhancing substances while he was playing club rugby in France. He was suspended for two years.