Rassie Erasmus on Hacjivah Dayimani a Springbok in waiting

Stormers loose forward Hacjivah Dayimani. Image: @THESTORMERS

OPINION: Hacjivah Dayimani is a Springbok in waiting!

Stormers superstar Hacjivah Dayimani appears to be destined for Springbok honours. Here’s why!

Rassie Erasmus on Hacjivah Dayimani a Springbok in waiting

Stormers loose forward Hacjivah Dayimani. Image: @THESTORMERS

Dayimani’s case for Springbok selection is strengthened with every man of the Match of the Match performance he produces for the Stormers. 

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The Springboks have no shortage of star versatile loose forwards who can scrum down on the side of the pack or at the back. But right now it is Dayimani who is the talk of the town thanks to his consistently exhilarating form for the Stormers in both the United Rugby Championship and the European Champions Cup.

Statistics sometimes have a bad name because they can be wrongly interpreted, but in the case of Dayimani they do a fine job in confirming that the he is a Springbok in waiting. 

Dayimani was front and centre of the Stormers’ 31-24 Champions Cup win over the Sale Sharks’ in Cape Town this past weekend, resulting in him scooping yet another Man of the Match award to his ever-growing collection.

In that match alone, Dayimani beat 10 defenders, the most of any player over the Champions Cup weekend and the joint-most of any forward in Europe’s top-tier competition, since Opta started recording this data. Additionally, he made 20 ball carries and 126 run metres, the most of any player during the match, to go with two linebreaks, two try-assists and a try.

And these type of performances have become the norm instead of the exception for Dayimani this season. He is arguably the most in-form forward in the URC at the moment and there’s nothing in his playbook to suggest that will change anytime soon.

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And in the context of Test selection, there is no reason why he can’t do the same for the Springboks.

As previously mentioned, there are options aplenty when it comes to the Springboks’ back row. But that doesn’t mean there’s no need for a Dayimani-type player.

As it stands, the Springboks have Kwagga Smith. He is one of those rare modern hybrid loose forwards, who went from initially being utilised as a fringe player to taking on the role as a specialist replacement and one that played big role in the evolution of Springboks’ game plan and ultimately the success of the 7-1 bench split.

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But Smith will be 34 by the time the next World Cup rolls around and for succession planning purposes, Rassie Erasmus and the rest of the Springboks’ brains trust will want blood in his replacement as soon as possible.

Offering a strong running game, speed and skill on attack, physicality in defence, a breakdown presence and an extra lineout option, Dayimani comes closest to replicating that Smith hybrid-player role.

And given his unmatched form, it would be hard for the Test selectors to ignore him and/or to dismiss out of hand that he would not add value to the Springbok team going forward.

In an interview in 2018 — when he had just burst through the ranks at the Lions — Dayimani refused to be drawn into talks of possible Springbok inclusion at the time because he felt he was not playing to his full potential.

“I’m playing 70% below my potential. When I feel I’m playing to the best of my ability, I’ll start thinking about making a Springbok team,” he said at the time.

Fast forward six years and Dayimani is playing the best rugby of his life and there are plenty of talk about him becoming a capped Springbok real soon.

And this time, Dayimani can’t dismiss those Springbok links because there’s nothing premature about it. The time has come for him to get his chance. He has earned at least that much.

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Hacjivah Dayimani Stormers Springbok Photo Shaun Roy BBP
Stormers loose forward Hacjivah Dayimani takes a break. Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix.