While his teammates at the Sharks achieved glory in the Currie Cup thousands of kilometres away, Johan Snyman scripted his own fairy tale in New Zealand.
Stephen Nell writes in Die Burger that the 22-year-old lock maybe missed out on sipping champagne from the Currie Cup, but nevertheless assisted in writing a good chapter in the history of Hawke’s Bay rugby last year by helping the minnows reach the semi-finals of their provincial competition (the NPC).
They eventually lost to All Black captain Richie McCaw’s Crusaders side.
Snyman was sent to New Zealand by Sharks coach John Plumtree so that he could gain experience. Shortly before his stint with Hawke’s Bay he was mentored by big names such as Eddie Jones and Todd Blackadder at Murray Mexted’s rugby academy.
“It was a big disappointment to miss out on the Currie Cup. I broke my wrist prior to the competition and could not play in the trials,” he said.
“However, the experience in New Zealand was one of the best of my life. They have a whole different way of doing things. People are down to earth and the training sessions are very different.”
Snyman’s form was impressive enough for the Hurricanes to express an interest in his services for the Super14.
“They play a very physical style in New Zealand. The little town where I stayed, Napier, just about comes to a standstill when the team plays. They are very kind to foreigners,” said Snyman.
“My game was a little loose at one stage, but I picked up my work-rate in New Zealand.”
While the experience was positive and he still has friends there, Snyman can’t wait to try and force his way into the Sharks’ Super14 squad. He will get an opportunity to prove his worth in the friendly match against the Pumas in Witbank on Saturday.
Snyman is one of several talented youngsters at the Sharks. Together with a core of experienced professionals they make for a very impressive regional squad.
The Sharks team is: Len Olivier, Lwazi Mvovo, Luzuko Vulindlu, Andries Strauss, Chris Jordaan, Monty Dumond, Charl McLeod, Warren Whiteley, Justin Downey, Skholiwe Ndlovu, Johan Snyman, Alistair Hargreaves, John Smit (capt), Craig Burden, Melusi Mthethwa. Substitutes: Frik Venter, Wiehahn Herbst, Steven Sykes, Nikolai Blignaut, Rory Kockott, Ruan Pienaar, Riaan Swanepoel.Tweet