From Green Machine to Maple Leaves

Written by Stephen Smith (StevieS)

Posted in :Original Content, RWC 2015 on 5 Oct 2015 at 09:17
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

Hi Sharks fans. We’ve got a treat – an interview with a former Shark and Glenwood Old Boy, Nanyak Dala, who will be representing Canada at his second World Cup.

Hi Nanyak, how are you?

Hi Steve, I’m doing well thanks. I’m at another World Cup so I’m doing well.

Not many Sharks fans will know, but you have strong ties with Natal and the Sharks going back to age group rugby and even some senior squad service. Please could you tell us more about that?

Yes I spent a number of years in Kwa-Zulu Natal doing my grade 7 at Penzance Primary, high school at Glenwood and a couple of years of university. During that time I went to Cravenweek in ’01 & ’02, played for the u19 in 2002 and the u20s in 2003. I never got a cap for the Sharks but was extensively involved in the wider training squad for the Currie Cup and super rugby in 2003.

What have you been up to since you left South Africa, both rugby-wise and life outside of rugby?

A lot of time has passed since then. I completed my Bachelor of Commerce degree at the university of Saskatchewan and have played for the Canadian national 7s and 15s team since 2007. I have attended two 7’s world cups, a Commonwealth games, at my second Rugby World Cup (15s) and won a Pan-American gold medal with the 7s team.

You made a big impact on one Zack Guildford at the previous World Cup playing out on the wing, but you’re more commonly known as a fetcher flank of some repute. How did this come about and have you played any other positions?

Haha I guess there are many ways to look at that. We had some injuries in that final game in the last World Cup and I had to go onto the field on the wing against New Zealand. I originally thought our trainer was pulling my leg and I laughed at him until he said you’re going on in 45 seconds so you better do some sprints. The rest is history and it’s rugby really once you’re on the pitch. Having played 7s as well, you have the ability to play a number of positions in the backline but I have predominantly been a fetcher/openside flank.

Which is your favourite position and why?

I enjoyed playing number 8 through high school but I didn’t grow any taller after graduating and settled into the openside role which I have really enjoyed. It has been my favourite position.

What is your favourite rugby memory, and why?

I have had the opportunity to experience some fantastic things in rugby through various tournaments and big games. I have a lot of great memories in the sport. Some of the funniest ones are of a friend of mine in Canada who started playing rugby later In life after many years of college football. My friend had a season where he ran out of bounds or lost the ball in the in-goal area about 5 different times with no one around him that season.

How was your welcome when you got to England? Have you been able to see any of the sights, and what has really stood out for you?

Getting into England was really good. We were taken care of right from the airport and hosted in a Rugby World Cup lounge. The people have been very friendly and their energy around the World Cup has been up there. We’ve been followed by a large contingent of Canadians and it was fantastic seeing all the red among the 88 000 people at the millennium stadium.

How do you rate Canada’s chances at the World Cup? You’re in a tough pool with Ireland, France, Italy and then a slightly lesser challenge in Romania. Who do you expect to progress out of your pool.

Yes we’re in a tough pool. I think all the pools are tough, that’s what the World Cup is all about. We’ve come here with the goal of reaching the quarter finals, a feat we have achieved once before. Based on world rankings and current form, you would expect the likes of Ireland and France progressing through to the next round. This being the World Cup and the amount of preparation that goes with it, anything can happen.

Thanks again for taking the time to answer our questions, and from all the fans at Sharksworld we wish you the best of luck during the World Cup.


  • Cool beans

  • Comment 1, posted at 05.10.15 10:28:28 by Poisy Reply
  • Nanyak Dala- one of the nicest guys ive had the pleasure of knowing. Tough as nails on the field but friendly as can be off it. Very glad to see he has been doing well in his chosen path.

  • Comment 2, posted at 05.10.15 10:39:25 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 2) : Hey Sheldon

    You were at school with him, hey? I knew him from church and we played together at Glenwood Old Boys.

    He is a wonderful guy. He was very highly rated at the Sharks. I had Rudolf Straueli phone me up about getting hold of him when I posted on the Sharks website that the Sharks should recruit him.

  • Comment 3, posted at 05.10.15 11:09:24 by StevieS Reply
  • @StevieS (Comment 3) : Although this is going back a few years obviously lol

  • Comment 4, posted at 05.10.15 11:09:50 by StevieS Reply
  • @StevieS (Comment 3) : Yeh was at Penzance and Glenwood with him. Probably one of the most respected players at Glenwood during my time there. Didnt come from the wealthiest family so very glad he has done so well in Canada.

  • Comment 5, posted at 05.10.15 11:12:15 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 5) : What team did you play for after school? Perhaps we met?

    He was very highly respected and well liked by everyone.

  • Comment 6, posted at 05.10.15 11:22:42 by StevieS Reply
  • @StevieS (Comment 6) : I didnt play for a few years after school. Eventually went to play for the then merged Old Boys for a few years till i stopped about 2yrs ago now i think

  • Comment 7, posted at 05.10.15 11:33:10 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 7) : Aah ok. Well nice to have established some similiar ground.

  • Comment 8, posted at 05.10.15 11:37:17 by StevieS Reply
  • Thanks Stevie. Interesting stuff…

  • Comment 9, posted at 05.10.15 17:50:03 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • @StevieS (Comment 3) : Interesting recruitment method, though… 😀

  • Comment 10, posted at 05.10.15 17:50:50 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • @StevieS (Comment 3) : @pastorshark (Comment 10) : obviously not high enough as they had to phone a friend to get hold of him……. just saying……
    Still glad to hear he’s doing well over there!!!

  • Comment 11, posted at 05.10.15 23:05:58 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • @JD (Comment 11) : They didn’t have his contact details. Dala was back for a visit so Steve mentioned on the Sharks website that he was back in the country and Rudolf phoned him the next day.

    Dala was such a machine! If he’d stayed he would have been a Bok. Amazing skills over the ball and speed to burn!

  • Comment 12, posted at 06.10.15 08:05:45 by ChrisS Reply
  • @ChrisS (Comment 12) : Why did he leave for Canada? Career prospects I assume?

  • Comment 13, posted at 06.10.15 09:50:24 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @vanmartin (Comment 13) : His family moved over.

  • Comment 14, posted at 06.10.15 15:12:01 by StevieS Reply

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