Quick tap with Ben-Jason Dixon

PUBLISHED: April 16, 2024

DHL Stormers forward Ben-Jason Dixon on why he enjoys tackling so much, his love of puzzles and how he tries to play like Spiderman.

You are a player with a passion for defence. Can you explain why you love tackling so much?

I really enjoy defence, I think I would be a defensive coach if I had to specialise in anything. I enjoy tackling because it is an area of contact dominance and one where I have had some success. I carry OK, but I think I get more contact dominance through tackling. It is such an awesome feeling when you dominate contact, it is difficult to describe but it is almost like the dopamine addiction that some people get from social media. Contact dominance is a bit of an addiction I think. In the same way that boxers visualise knocking someone out, it is the same kind of thing when you think about making a big tackle. It is satisfying.

You were Head Boy at Paul Roos and were a captain at age-group level. Is leadership something you enjoy and do you find it brings the best out in you?

Leadership is not really something that I have always looked for, but I do think it brings the best out of me. When I have had to step up into a leadership role there is a sense of confidence that goes with it and I feel like it suits me. I have always tried to be an example in what I do, to try and be inspirational and show the way I think things should be done and what I think is right.

Can you explain what exactly you studied and what field you would like to explore as a career after rugby?

I studied Industrial Engineering, which is basically engineering and business combined. Engineering entails solving problems creatively using mathematics, programming and physics, and industrial engineering uses these disciplines to improve systems in business. I like puzzles and Industrial Engineering work is a lot like solving a puzzle as it involves getting to the root of a problem and coming up with a creative solution. One of the things I really enjoyed was studying information systems which is about how information flows in a business or system. Another aspect was industrial practice, which involved psychology and motivational theories in the workplace, so it touches on all these different aspects of businesses and industries. It is about using your mind and solving problems, I can’t say that I have a lot of marketable skills yet, but I aspire to do something involving programming. I enjoy learning about artificial intelligence and all the ways that you can use data to extract insights which can be helpful in a business.

As a player who can cover more than one position, do you have a preference and why?

I enjoy playing flank. When I was a kid my favourite superhero was Spiderman (still is). He has got so much agility and speed and he goes on instinct. I feel like that is what I enjoy doing, I’m a bit of a reactive player on the field, which is why I think playing flank suits me. There is so much room for growth at flank, you find yourself in space a bit more and you have to make good decisions and also have the skill to execute those decisions at a high speed. Those are all things that I am still working on and I feel like there is so much room for growth as a rugby player in that position, but there is still a lot of the tough stuff like tackling, rucking and mauling. Those things combined make it more fun than playing lock, which is a lot of hard work which I also enjoy, but maybe I need to pack on some extra kilos if I am going to play there regularly.

What are your favourite pastimes away from the game?

One of the things I enjoy doing is finding a forest and walking through the trees. I’m a bit of a tree-lover, I enjoy nature, but specifically forests and dams. I really enjoy exercise, so if I were to do something outside of rugby that is technically not rugby it would be touch rugby. But a bit of beach soccer or anything with a ball and a bit of movement is great. Then of course singing and dancing, chilling with friends. I like to watch rugby, especially school rugby. There is so much excitement around those derby days. I was a coach for a few years at Paul Roos, so those were some of the most fun times when you can shout and really express yourself on the side of the field. I also enjoy spending time in prayer.