For a man who used to run the 100m in 10.68sec Hacjivah Dayimani’s career‚ so far‚ has not gone the places he had hoped.
The Golden Lions’ No8‚ however‚ made a storming start to the Currie Cup with a brace of tries in their opener against Griquas last Friday. It was a fitting start to a competition he feels plays to his strengths.
"I see this Currie Cup as a competition in which I can improve‚" he said on Tuesday.
"The coach spoke to me and said this is the time to show what I have and showcase my talent. I can do better‚ work harder and showcase my skills."
This season’s Super Rugby competition did not quite provide the launch pad Dayimani had hoped for. He was in and out of the team.
"In Super Rugby I was a bit in a box. I had guys ahead of me like Warren Whiteley‚ Franco Mostert and Cyle Brink‚" he said. "I just tried to show what I can do and show what they can do by being more physical‚ trying to steal like a Malcolm Marx.
"I felt I wasn’t playing my game. I feel more confident now. The coach is backing me."
Dayimani is modest about where he is at in his evolution as a player.
"I feel I can improve by 60%. It might not look like that outside, but the coaches and I know the weaknesses. In training I try and get closer to my goal."
When you are as sure of hand and fleet of foot as Dayimani‚ other areas are compromised. He does not have the hulking presence of a Duane Vermeulen or a Willem Alberts, but at the Lions you do not necessarily have to run over an opponent.
"We don’t have a system where you have to be big or small. We have a principle where you just have to make a hit‚" he said.
"For me, physicality was never a problem. The coaches made me realise that they don’t care about size. I’m more focused on playing exciting rugby. Previously, I tried to play a game that wasn’t me. I tried to be physical. I tried to be everywhere. I thought I should stick to my strengths and stay out wide. Take on the backs‚ exploit space and the things that I’m good at."
Dayimani hopes those skills will again come to the fore in what is expected to be a fast-paced clash against the Blue Bulls at Loftus on Saturday. He is expecting the Bulls to snort with intent after the humbling in Durban at the hands of the Sharks.
"They are a tough side and always bring it upfront. We’ll try and find the spaces and exploit their weaknesses."