FEATURED

Q&A with Gio Aplon

PUBLISHED: July 14, 2014


Gio Aplon has just drawn the curtain on a wonderful career in the Cape, spanning 84 matches for the DHL Stormers and 95 for DHL Western Province

Did you ever think the day would come where you bid DHL Newlands farewell?
“You have it in the back of your mind that your career will reach its conclusion, but you can’t prepare for it. I’m very emotional and there are lots of memories. It’s something that takes time to sink in.”

You advanced through the WP club structures, didn’t you?
“Yes, I did. I played for Maties, the WP sevens team, the amateur team and then in the Vodacom Cup, before I played in the Absa Currie Cup. I never thought I would become a professional player. I went to the University of Stellenbosch to study to become an accountant. I was fortunate enough to be spotted and eventually become a Springbok.”

Do you recall your DHL WP debut against the Natal Wildebeeste in 2005 vividly?
“Yes, I do. I played club rugby the weekend before and was then picked to play for an SA Students team. I prepared with them on the Monday and Tuesday, but on the Wednesday WP’s director of rugby at the time, Nick Mallett, called. Gaffie du Toit had been injured in training and he said I should be at Newlands by 1pm. I couldn’t get there quickly enough! It was an amazing feeling when we travelled to Durban on the Friday. I was blessed to score a try that day too.”

Ucinga ukuba yayiyintoni amagqabantshitshi obomi bakho emboxweni?
“Umdlalo wam wokuqala neWildebeest eThekwini kwaye kufanele ukuba xandiqibelisa ukudlala ndigagane neSharks. Ukuketwa yiWestern Province yinto ongenoyicinga nasemaphuphweni. Yayiyimincili ufundwa kwegama lam kwiqela leSpringbok ngo2010 kweye andinakulibala nomdlalo vavanyo wam wokuqala sidlala neFrance eNewlands. Kwakumnandi nakumdlalo wokugqibela weSuper Rugby sidlalo neBulls eOrlando kwakulonyaka. Sayiphumelela neCurrie Cup ngo2012 kodwa kukokonke oko, ngabahlobo eWestern Province nexesha elimnandi ebaleni nangaphandle.”

Ungathanda ukukhunjulwa ngantoni?
“Ndingathandwa ukukhunjulwelwa ukuza nento engaqhelekanga emboxweni. Ngethemba khe ndiyabanika nabadlali abatsha inkolo yokuba nabo bayoze baphumelele emboxweni.”

Ngubani ocinga ukuba angathatha intabo zakho njengomonwabisi eNewlands?
“Ngaphandle komngabazo nguCheslin Kolbe. Uzibonakalisile izinto akwazi ukuzenza. Ndiyathemba nokuba udlalela nakweliphi inqanaba akunawuthiwa ‘mncinci kakhulu. Unesipho kwaye nekhono lokudlalela iqela lesizwe iSpringboks.”

Gaan jy dit mis om met Juan de Jongh te ‘dans’?
“Ja, ek gaan! Ongeag waarheen jy gaan sal die rugby dieselfde bly, maar die vriende wat jy maak bo alles uitstaan. Ons het baie goeie vriende geword oor die jare en vermaak verskaf. Hopelik ontmoet ek iemand met dieselfde waardes en beginsels in Frankryk.”

Is dáár iets wat jy nog in jou loopbaan wil bereik behalwe om in Frankryk te speel?
“Ek sal graag weer vir die Springbokke wil speel, maar dit gaan natuurlik nóg moeiliker wees wanneer ek daar is. Grenoble sal ook vir my ‘n nuwe uitdaging bied. Die omgewing is anders. Jy speel meer dikwels in reën, op swaar velde en moet óók leer om Frans te praat. Ek gaan buite my gemaksone moet beweeg om die uitdaging te trotseer.”

Is daar enige mense wie jy graag wil bedank vir die rol wat hulle in jou loopbaan hier gespeel het?
“Ek dink eerstens my ouers, wat groot opofferinge gemaak het. My vrou was ook baie ondersteunend en Mnr Bradley Gillion het my op skool deurentyd aangemoedig. Paul Treu het as afrigter van die Springbok-sewesspan ook ‘n merkwaardige invloed op my gehad. Peter de Villiers het my ook die geleentheid gegee om toetsrugby te speel. Dit lê my ook na aan die hart dat ek in die WP ‘n geleentheid gegun is in beroepsrugby, ondanks die feit dat ek aanvanklik nie veel meer as 60kg geweeg het nie. Ek is ook baie dank verskuldig aan Allister Coetzee en Robbie Fleck (onderskeidelik die Stormers se hoof- en agterlyn-afrigter). Dr Phil Pretorius het, as afrigter van die Maties, ook vir my ‘n kans gegee toe ek nog by die 60kg geweeg het.”

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