Mzwandile Stick has captained the South African sevens team to victory in two tournaments in a row.
So how does a self-respecting black guy like you get a surname like Stick?
(Laughs) I don’t know, I grew up with it, it’s our family name. I understand my grandfather came up with it.
Most people know you as a sevens man. What’s your position in the 15-man game?
I play flyhalf and fullback, but I prefer flyhalf.
You were contracted to the Sharks a few years ago. What happened there?
They didn’t renew my contract in 2006 because I was too busy with sevens.
Do you still have ambitions to play the 15-man game or are you happy at sevens?
My sevens contract ends next year and I’ll see then if I can move to 15s. Playing 15s is still a part of my career plan.
The sevens Springboks won the first two tournaments of the 2008/09 World Series. To what do you attribute that?
This is a different team in terms of mentality. These guys know what they want to be, and that is the No1 team in the world in sevens at the end of the season. We’ve lost key players in Fabian Juries and Jonathan Mokuena, but the guys have taken it as a challenge.
Has the added responsibility of captaining the side affected your game?
I was surprised when they appointed me because I’d never captained at any level. But most of the guys in the team are seniors, which has made the job easy. That’s why I’m still able to play my natural game.
Did you think you were going to nail that dropped goal from the halfway line against Fiji in the Dubai Sevens semifinals?
Ja. During that match I kept thinking that if I got any chance I would drop. When we got that turnover from a lineout I went for it. When I kicked I felt I had a good chance of getting it.
Your back-heel at the Wellington Sevens last year suggests you’ve played soccer. How good were you and in what position did you play?
I was a right wing but I wasn’t really that good. I had something but I wasn’t the best.
Your team has always done well in Dubai but never at home in George. Did winning there give you confidence that you might win the series?
After winning in Dubai we knew we were expected to win at home and that everyone would be behind us. In the past, we just thought home- ground advantage would get us there. This time our mind-set was different. We decided to play as if we were in New Zealand or wherever else in the world.
What’s Paul Treu like?
He’s a good coach, a very passionate guy. I think he only sleeps four hours a night or even less as he does a lot of video work. He can be tough sometimes. His team talks scare me during games, but he calms down afterwards.
Who are the crazy guys in the team?
I used to be one of the crazy guys in the team, but Rayno Benjamin’s the main guy now. He’s always playing around or looking for trouble.
Do you have a favourite book?
I don’t read too much.
If they made a movie about you, who would play you?
What music do you play on the iPod on your way to matches?
House music or Mbaqanga.
Can you tell us a joke?
I’m not very good with jokes.
Published Courtesy of the Sunday Times.Tweet