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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.



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