Newlands means ‘so much’ to everyone at the Stormers
So far, Dillyn Leyds’ year has been “like an Instagram story – a few moments of entertainment here and there, but not convincing enough to keep you interested”.
That’s one way of putting it.
Given what has gone down during the first three months of the year – the coronavirus pandemic and 21-day national lockdown – there are many who would probably have much harsher words to speak of 2020.
The Stormers playmaker though, while obviously feeling the effects of the current situation, is also using this as an opportunity to have another look at his personal as well as the team’s goals for the rest of the year.
“It’s obviously a pretty unique situation that we find ourselves in. I feel that at the moment we’re lost as athletes and even more so as humans,” Leyds said.
“It could possibly also be a time that we can use just to slow ourselves down and regather plans and goals we’ve set out for 2020. It’s been a pretty frustrating time because we just don’t know what the future holds and it can be pretty difficult to stay motivated as a sportsman if you don’t really know what you’re training for.”
With no team training, players have had to get creative in order to keep in shape. Leyds, of course, is no different.
“I’ve had to get onto YouTube and have a look at a few possible yoga sessions I could do because that was something I quite enjoyed to do away from normal rugby training,” the 27-year-old explained.
“Luckily our strength and conditioning coaches and our management team have managed to strike a deal with Virgin Active and they’ve been really helpful in supplying us with some equipment we’re able to use at home. Unfortunately, I’ve been given the Wattbike, which is not a good thing for me at all, but I will just have to stay strong and make peace with the idea of having a Wattbike in my face for the next 21 days.”
After a superb start to the 2020 Super Rugby season, the Stormers lost their last two games against the Blues and Sharks… far from an ideal end, even if it’s just temporary.
The current situation is obviously an extremely tough one for everybody, and when you zoom in on the South African rugby landscape, it wouldn’t be unfair to say that the Stormers, especially, will be feeling it for more reasons than one seeing as it’s their last year at Newlands.
“Walking off after the Blues game we were disappointed with our display as a team, but more so because we know that was not what the people of Newlands deserved. To think that that game could be the last time a Stormers team ran out at Newlands leaves me pretty upset and empty. That place means so much to everyone involved at this union and I’m sure if we get one more chance we’ll go out and smash it,” Leyds said.
Earlier this year, when speaking about his goals for the year ahead, Leyds mentioned that playing with his younger brother, Trystan (also a fullback), is one of his ultimate boxes to tick in 2020.
And now, knowing that it might not happen, not in a Super Rugby game, at least, is a tough one for the counter-attacking virtuoso.
“It’s pretty disappointing. I know how hard he’s been working to get a look in for the Super Rugby matchday squad and he’s been doing really well during the warm-up games for the Rugby Challenge side. I don’t think he’s too far off and hopefully, it can still happen even though it might not be at Newlands. At least there’s still half a chance of the dream coming true,” Leyds said.
While nobody really knows how this Instagram story is going to play out in terms of the rugby schedule going forward, Leyds is sure of what would come close to being the perfect Newlands send-off for him personally.
“It would be tough to have a perfect send-off for Newlands but representing my country in the last ever Test match (against Scotland) at the famous ground would be as close to perfect as it could possibly be,” Leyds said.