Springbok and Lions tighthead prop Ruan Dreyer is enjoying a year of rugby and personal milestones, which includes a dream Springbok debut and the much-anticipated birth of his first child.
Ruan Dreyer made his Springbok debut during the national team’s 35-12 third Test victory against France, which sealed a 3-0 series whitewash against Les Bleus.
It was a debut with a Hollywood-like build-up as the match was played in Johannesburg (where the 26-year-old has played professional rugby for the past eight seasons) and was on the 22nd anniversary of South Africa’s 1995 Rugby World Cup triumph at the same stadium.
Dreyer said it was a special occasion for him.
“The most special part of the build-up were the moments before kick-off. I received some motivational words from (lock) Franco Mostert after the national anthem, who told me to go out and enjoy myself. We were pumped up as a team, especially thanks to the big crowd that showed up on the day. Then the aeroplane flew over the stadium, just like the iconic moment before the 1995 Rugby World Cup final (below),” Dreyer explained to MyPlayers.
“The French were definitely a tough challenge up front. They managed to slow down our ball at the rucks and tested us at the scrums. But as a team, we did the job on the field to secure the win. It’s a debut I’ll never forget.”
Dreyer added that the Test series against France will be remembered as a special chapter for Springbok rugby.
“It wasn’t just the results that were important to us. The training camp in Plettenberg Bay was an important start to the series as we grew a special bond as a squad. There was a big culture shift as the players and coaches collectively agreed on one goal – to inspire the nation by restoring the pride in the Springbok jersey. We are off to a good start, but there’s so much more we want to achieve as a team,” he said.
The South African rugby fraternity will now refocus on Super Rugby as the competition resumes this weekend.
Dreyer and his Lions team-mates enjoyed an easy transition during their return from national duty as the Johannesburg-based franchise is excited to build on their impressive competition form, which saw them win 12 of their 13 matches. With three rounds remaining, the Lions top their pool and are likely to secure a home semi-final.
“It’s like returning to your parent’s home, which will always be your home. The Lions players have returned to training quite easily and we’re preparing well for our next match against the Sunwolves on Saturday,” said Dreyer. “The focus will be on executing our plans on the field. We definitely want to go one step further this season, but will take things game by game.”
Off the field, there’s more exciting news for Dreyer as he is set to enter fatherhood later this year.
“My wife and I are expecting our first child towards the end of August. Parenthood is something we’re both looking forward to. We are busy renovating at the moment as we prepare a new home for our family,” said Dreyer.
“Right now, my focus is on my rugby and family. I want to do well for the Lions and Springboks. Looking ahead in the long term, I do have some plans in place for life after rugby as I’ll look to get into business with my dad, who runs a construction company. I’d love to work in the property industry one day.”
By Gareth Duncan