Stormers wing Dillyn Leyds was surprised by the major reaction from rugby fans around the world after his amazing offload that created a match-clinching try against the Chiefs at Newlands last weekend.
Speedster Dillyn Leyds has been in impressive form for the Stormers, featuring regularly at wing this season. He’s been exciting with ball in hand, especially in space, while he’s also contributed valuably in the Cape side’s impressive defence. This saw him receive his first senior Springbok call-up this year as he joined the national’s team second training camp in Stellenbosch last month.
More recently, he enjoyed a highlight moment during the Stormers’ impressive 34-26 win over the Chiefs in Cape Town last Saturday, which saw him create a late try-scoring opportunity for fullback SP Marais with an unconventional flick off the ground that stunned all rugby enthusiasts around the world.
Since that moment, Leyds has received a flood of messages via social media. The 24-year-old said he appreciates all the support as he refocuses on the job on hand ahead.
“[The pass] It’s something you practice at training when the guys fool around. You never think you’ll get the opportunity to do it during the match. But everything came together so quickly and naturally… it was a major gamble that paid off,” Leyds told MyPlayers.
“I remember getting ankle tapped before looking around for support. I saw SP in space out wide and my immediate instinct was to try and get the ball to him as quickly as possible. I flicked the ball and it managed to reach him.
“I was very surprised by the reaction to the pass after the match, especially on social media,” Leyds adds. “The messages that have come through social media have been amazing – I think I’m done with social media for the month [laughs]! A real heart-warming moment was when I got a message from a young rugby fan from Japan. It’s amazing how rugby can spark something so positive around the world.”
Meanwhile, Leyds said the players are focused on continuing their good form against the Lions at Newlands this weekend, which will be their final home game before a challenging overseas tour.
“There’s a great vibe among the players. We are playing good rugby and we want to continue our momentum. Credit must be given to all the guys, especially the younger players who have stepped up. We have lost many experienced guys to injury, but the young players have held their own when called upon. We have placed a big focus on our defence, which has made a huge difference. This also creates the platform for us to attack with freedom when the opportunity allows it.
“We are showing a great attitude as a young team. We don’t have many senior players, so we all have our individual responsibility to play our part. Our captain Siya Kolisi is only 25 year sold, but he’s setting a great example for all of us.
“There’s no easy game in Super Rugby and we know the Lions will bring a tough physical challenge this weekend. They’re playing good rugby and we know what they can do, especially after their amazing season in 2016. We will need the support of the Newlands faithful behind us. They were amazing against the Chiefs, which really inspired the players on the field. Hopefully, we can give them a great result before we go on tour.”
In terms of his individual aspirations, Leyds just wants to continue enjoying the game after missing most of 2016 due to a serious knee injury. He also has important plans off the field in place this year.
“Last year was really tough because of the knee injury. I’ve always been one to push myself to play the perfect game, so being away from rugby gave me lots of time to think and to grow a fresh perspective on things,” he said.
“One should never forget to enjoy the game. I’m loving my rugby this season and this has been a big boost for me. I want to continue playing well for the team and help the Stormers achieve the team goals this season. Whatever comes next is a big bonus for me. It was great being invited to the Springboks’ training… I believe if you play well consistently, the rewards will come.
“Off the field, I plan on resuming my studies. Professional players need to make an effort to prepare for life after rugby, so I want to complete my marketing qualification this year.”
By Gareth Duncan