Catching up with Swannie

Written by Benedict Chanakira (bchanakira2)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks on 30 Apr 2014 at 09:03
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , , ,

Our man Benedict grabbed a few minutes with former Sharks centre Riaan Swanepoel this week.

Benedict Chanakira: Hey Riaan, how are you?
Riaan Swanepoel: I’m very good thank you.

BC: How has the family settled in France?
RS: We are settling in very nicely. It was tough at start being far away from family and friends, but I have my wife with my so I’m very happy.

BC: Since your role as a medical joker in 2011 at Clermont it has been a different world in your life? Will you return to South Africa?
RS: Yes I came over as medical joker to try out France and see how it would go. I honestly haven’t looked back at all. Yes I miss SA and the Sharks was a big part of my rugby career but I’m happy where I am now. (But you never know)

BC: Do you harbor dreams to play for the French?
RS: As a born South African we all dream to play for our country when you get older,maybe I missed it or maybe there is still a chance!! When I can qualify to play for France and if I do well and get the opportunity-yes, I will definitely want to play for France!!

BC: You have been one of the key performers for Brive? How is the club?
RS: Thank you! I enjoy Brive very much – the people and the club are very good to me and my wife. It’s a small club/town but they are the most passionate supporters I know!! Everyone at the club works well together and bonds well as a family.

BC: You are in crutches and just started rehabilitation. How is it coming along?
RS: Yes I unfortunately I broke my fibia and tore the ligaments in my ankle. It’s tough sometimes because I am the type of person that likes to keep busy and active, and even more difficult now because my wife’s pregnant. At the start using the crutches was tricky but now I have mastered the art of using them. Yes you do fall,it has happened 3 times already. I don’t enjoy injuries, but ‘c’est la vie’

BC: Who was your boyhood hero?
RS: There are a few, I loved Danie Gerber when I was young. Tana Umaga, Carlos Spencer, Tiaan Strauss because my dad loved him. Henry Honiball and then still a big favourite and I’ve had the priviledge of playing against him… Johnny Wilkinson.

BC: Who do you think is the most underrated player you have played with?
RS: There are a few that I have played with over the years, but at this moment it’s Petrus Human the flank for Brive. He is very good and a skillful player and I rate him.

BC: Your versatility receives a lot of praise. This includes rave reviews. Which position is your favorite?
RS: I played mainly centre at the Sharks but since I have been in France I have been playing a bit of 10 and 15. I played 10 this season and enjoyed it. At this moment 10 is my favourite – I like to control the game and have the ball in my hands.

BC: What was the most memorable moment you experienced in the Sharks black and white?
RS: It would be my debut against Boland. Scoring a try with my first touch. Winning the Currie Cup 2008. Currie Cup Final 2010 will stand out the most and wining it!!

BC: Clermont have an impressive record at home. What is the secret?
RS: “C’est incroyable ” good players, good coach and great supporters in Clermont.

B: How often do you meet up with other South Africans there for a traditional braai?
RS: There are five of us South Africans here and Charl van Rensburg is also here so we often have a traditional braai!! It’s a must!!

B: Do you have a message for the Sharks fans back home?
RS: Sharks fan base is the best in SA by far. You mean a lot to the players by standing behind them and cheering them on “on and off ” the field. Thanks for cheering me on when I played there it was a great experience. Black and white nothing else matters.

B: Thanks Riaan, get smashing people soon.
RS: Thanks


  • He was and is a fave of mine,I only wish him the best.

  • Comment 1, posted at 30.04.14 09:16:00 by KingRiaan Reply
  • Good interview Benedict, Thanks.

    Its really good to read that Riaan is doing very well, and enjoying France. Playing flyhalf – I doubt that would have happened in SA.

  • Comment 2, posted at 30.04.14 09:21:27 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Really enjoy these interviews Benedict! Thanks for catching us up on Swannie.

  • Comment 3, posted at 30.04.14 09:24:11 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 2) : he actually played 10 quite regularly as a junior.

    Swannie is one of those (many) real tragedies in our rugby history. A player who had the complete package, but felt that the only route to the senior side was to bulk up to the point that he only had one option left (the crashball)

  • Comment 4, posted at 30.04.14 09:30:38 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Thanks! It so good to catch up with Riaan S. He was a great player. I remember him being on the bench for a while and he made a huge difference when he came on. It was great when he was in the starting line-up after a period of time.
    All the best to a very fine player.

  • Comment 5, posted at 30.04.14 09:45:25 by [email protected] Reply

  • Good for Swannie! Yeah, I remember when he announced that he will be heading to France that I thought it would be a BIG loss for the Sharks. And was I right! We missed him over the past couple of years, but also understand his reasons. Top player he is! I wonder, in our current setup if he was still with the Sharks, how JW would have utilised him…

  • Comment 6, posted at 30.04.14 10:01:40 by Another Nick Reply

    Another Nick
  • Yip, always liked him as a player. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out and moving on is the best move. I’m glad it ended up working out for him.

    Thanks for the update Benedict.

  • Comment 7, posted at 30.04.14 10:04:48 by Maria Delport Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 4) : Interesting, I only know the bulked up, crash ball Swannie.

  • Comment 8, posted at 30.04.14 10:19:35 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @robdylan (Comment 4) : yes that was a pity, when he started he really was agile but then the second season he turned into hulk. Hope he lost a bit of the bulk and started stepping again. Glad to hear he’s enjoying it.

  • Comment 9, posted at 30.04.14 11:51:01 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • @Another Nick (Comment 6) : @robdylan (Comment 4) : I also rated him and since he left look at the tragedy going on in that key 13 posittion,bring him back

  • Comment 10, posted at 30.04.14 12:49:20 by benji Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @benji (Comment 10) : He played 12 didn’t he?

    And last I remember, he just never brought anything to the table….played like Alberts, which is not desirable for a backline player.

  • Comment 11, posted at 30.04.14 12:52:33 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 11) : As much as like Swannie I have to agree with you. I don’t see him starting ahead of any of our current options at either 12 or 13.

  • Comment 12, posted at 30.04.14 13:34:39 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Excuse my ignorance, but what is a medical joker?

  • Comment 13, posted at 30.04.14 15:25:30 by klempie Reply

  • @klempie (Comment 13) : They had an long term injury to one of their players, and according to rules you can’t just sign some one on the fly,but you are allowed a ”medical joker” a player that signs for a couple of months to cover the injured players place. But a lot of those players normally end up staying long term.

  • Comment 14, posted at 30.04.14 15:32:02 by KingRiaan Reply


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