April just wants to play his natural game


The baby-faced 24-year-old has come good at the Sharks after being given a shot at flyhalf against the Highlanders in Dunedin and he did well against the Chiefs last week, prompting the question of why it took the coaching staff so long to play him instead of Joe Pietersen.

Pietersen, the veteran fullback-flyhalf, has done a steady job in taking over from Patrick Lambie, the captain who funnily enough is now ready to make a comeback from a shoulder injury, and will play off the bench this week against the Hurricanes, with April starting. But one wonders if the Sharks’ well documented attacking ambitions would have come to fruition had the enterprising youngster started sooner rather than later.

“I am just glad I had opportunities on tour to show what I can do,” April said yesterday. “I had been told by the coaches that my chance would come and while it was not easy to take the step up after a long time on the sidelines, I just backed myself to enjoy the occasion.

“I have always known that I wanted a career in rugby, so it was a case of just doing what I have loved doing since I started playing the game at the age of 12,” April said.

“I have learned to be patient and having to wait for my chance on tour in New Zealand made me appreciate it all the more. I have worked my way off the bench and learnt a lot along the way. Pat (Lambie) has given me a lot of encouragement, and on tour I was given some very good advice from (scrumhalf) Michael Claassens and (fullback) Willie le Roux. They have a lot of experience and I was grateful for the chance to listen to them.

“They told me to do what I do I best, and if that means taking the ball to the line and having a go, so be it.”

This time last year, April was playing club rugby for Durbell in the Cape. Now he is going to start this week against some of his All Black heroes in the visiting Hurricanes.

“Whatever role I play, I am going to play my natural game,” he said.

“They have a world class team and being part of a game against these guys is why I have had the ambition of playing professional rugby.

“We have seen from the Hurricanes’ big win over the Lions that we cannot give them a chance to get into their stride,” he said.

“It is going to be a huge occasion.” - Cape Times

Original source: April just wants to play his natural game