rugby

"It's not about being big, it's about being as powerful as possible but as nimble as possible as well"

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This week on Planet Sport we’re talking Rugby 7s, and more specifically, South Africa centre, Ruhan Nel. The Blitzbok star tells us about what it takes to thrive at the top of the sport and also about how Rugby is basically just part of being South African!

Listen to the Planet Sport interview below:

Enter our Rugby competition giveaway!

A signed Saracens Tee is up for grabs!

A signed Saracens Tee is up for grabs!

We are really pleased to announce that we are running a giveaway competition to celebrate our latest release of the Rugby Podcast.

The prize up for grabs is an official Saracens Rugby T-shirt, signed by Saracens and Australia pro Will Skelton! To be in with a chance to win, head over to our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and follow the entry requirements! Go on, treat yourself!

Saracens' Will Skelton talks Wallabies, World Cup ambitions & faith

On the latest Podcast we feature Saracens and Australia Rugby star, Will Skelton, who talks about his thoughts ahead of the Rugby World Cup next year in Japan and he tells us how important his faith in Jesus is to his on-field game.

That’s not all! USA Rugby’s Carlin Isles, the world’s fastest Rugby player, also joins us to play the ‘This or That’ game. Is he as quick with his words as he is with his feet?

Listen to the Planet Sport Rugby Podcast below:

Image Credit: Alasdair Massie

"I still have a little bit more to offer, you don't have to reach 30 and then quit"- Collins Injera

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As the Rugby World Cup Sevens approaches, it seemed only right that we pull aside Kenya's Collins Injera, part of the furniture in the Shujaa changing room and responsible for scoring over 270 tries for his country.

Planet Sport's Norman Brierley spoke to the 31-year-old about how he can use all of his experience to help the young players in the squad, and how big a part 'faith' plays in his rugby. . .

Listen to the full Planet Sport interview below:

A San Francisco special: The Rugby World Cup Sevens

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Next week sees the Rugby Sevens world converge on San Francisco for the World Cup, we caught up with Blitzboks' Branco Du Preez and Seabelo Senatla ahead of their involvement at the tournament.

Planet Sport's Norman Brierley spoke to the pair to find out what it means to be a part of this South Africa team and see how their preparations are coming along.

Listen to the full Planet Sport interview below:

"They told me that I had small calf muscles, so I couldn't kick a ball"

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Meet Willy Ambaka, Kenya Rugby's star man in the sevens format. The 28-year-old winger has made over 30 appearances and notched 325 points for the Shujaa National Team and is a central figure in their HSBC Sevens Series campaign.

Planet Sport's Norman Brierley spoke to the man himself, at the HSBC Sevens meet at Twickenham, London, about where his love for Rugby came from and his hopes for Kenya as a rugby nation:

Listen to the full Planet Sport interview with Willy below:

Looking ahead with Wallabies forward Scott Sio

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26-year-old Scott Sio plays for Australian Super Rugby side, Brumbies, and has also been capped by the Wallabies 43 times to date.

The world-class forward took time out to chat to Planet Sport, about following in the sporting footsteps of his father, what it means to pull on the green and gold and how his faith in God helps him in life. 

Listen to the full Planet Sport interview with Scott below:

"I have had so many miracles in my life"

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South African Rugby pro Tera Mtembu, spoke to Planet Sport about his Super Rugby career with the Sharks, his love for Liverpool FC and what the future holds for him in the game.

Tera speaking on:

What he expects from 2018 . ."Firstly, I am focused on what God wants for me. Every professional athlete goes through ups and downs but what God wants for me is what I am going to achieve. I will take and control what I can control which is keeping my faith strong."

Representing South Africa. . . "They are memories that I will never forget, I remember playing my first taste of senior rugby and it was definitely a highlight of my career so far. It's something that you can't really explain and I appreciate it more now that I did back then. It was a surreal experience and I'm really grateful."

His drive to still play international rugby. . ."Yes it definitely is, in the situation that I am in now, not many people are giving me a chance which is fine. Since I was young I've always tried to overcome adversity, and ever since I've had the Lord in my life somehow I have proven people wrong. It definitely still is the ultimate but if it doesn't happen then it's not the end of the world. I will never stop working hard and believing."

Adapting from rugby Sevens to Fifteens. . ."It's easier playing sevens and then transitioning to fifteens than the other way round. For me it came at the perfect time, when you go to sevens you sharpen up, you have to be accurate in sevens with your passing and you get drilled. It triggered my rugby to where I am now."

His love for Liverpool football club. . . "Back in 2008 a friend of mine used to talk about Liverpool all the time! The game where they beat AC Milan in the Champions league final, he talked about that game for the whole year.  So I started to watch soccer and ended up supporting Liverpool."

Why his Christian faith so important. . . "Because I've had so many miracles in my life. I made a conscious decision to start reading the bible in 2008. I was fortunate to play first team rugby at school for four years, the first two years I played but was pretty average. So at the end of 2007 I needed change in my life, I had been working hard but just wasn't growing. So in January 2008 I just decided to open a bible to just be there with God and hear what he had to say. I started praying each and every day and it's amazing how my life turned, on and off the field. Ever since then, I've had the Lord close to my heart. I've achieved things that I would never have imagined just because of my faith. It's been a tough road but I will just follow His lead and do what He wants me to do."

How that faith changes how he sees sport. . ."I am going on the field and he takes over my body, he is driving the steering wheel. I don't set myself personal goals anymore, I just pray to the Lord and thank Him for the opportunity to do what I love on the stage that I'm on."

Being himself, in the rugby culture. . ."As you get older it does get easier, when you are coming in as a youngster it's tough because you get stuck into a bubble. Once you are in that bubble, you can get stuck and forget your values and identity. I also got stuck in that bubble for a while and so I had to look at myself in the mirror, to find my feet. My faith has just grown stronger but it's what you make of it. Rugby shouldn't define you as a person."

 

"Despite the injuries, God managed to bring me back"

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We spoke to Ugandan Rugby 7s star, Philip Wokorach while we were reporting on the Commonwealth Games in Australia. The 24-year-old carries much of the country's weight on his shoulders but you wouldn't know it. Tune in to Planet Sport and hear the outside centre speak on his setbacks, his ambitions and his faith in Jesus:

In interview with Springbok star Pierre Spies

We caught up with South African number 8, Pierre Spies for a Planet Sport exclusive. After a recent announcement to retire, we spoke to the 32-year-old about his future plans and we look back on his memorable moments! Read the transcript below:

Pierre, where did your love for the game of rugby come from?

“In South Africa Rugby is a big sport so when you are young you want to play, my dad also played rugby for the Bulls so we grew up with it. We had a rugby ball at home and in the backyard we would act like we were running over guys and scoring tries. That’s where the love came from and I basically started when I was eight years old.”

You went to school with a few buddies who have now gone on to be greats in world sport, tell us about those guys!

"I come from a boys’ school in Pretoria and I know some proper cricketers, golfers and a well-renowned pianist. AD De Villiers was a year ahead of me and he used to play fly half, Faf Du Plessis also, who plays for the Proteas, Heino Kuhn and many good cricketers. It’s great to be part of a school with some great sports people coming out of it.”

“Absolutely, if you are shooting at a dream then the pinnacle is where you want to be. What’s my goal? I wanted to play for the Springboks from a young age and I was fortunate enough to have it come my way. I played many games and was part of great teams. It was just an amazing journey for me.”

You recently announced your retirement from pro rugby, talk us through that process? What drove that decision?

 “Well, things don’t always work out the way that you planned, I was planning on retiring after the two years left on my contract but when we finished the season I went about praying and God told me that it was my time. So I made the decision to finish my career and prepare for the next part. I think everyone reaches this moment in different ways, for me the moment I made up my mind it was settled in my heart. I can look back on my career with fulfilment and joy.”

When rugby is all that you’ve known for so long, is the prospect of ‘retirement’ from it, scary? It must become your identity somewhat.

 “It does but that’s where I have been quite intentional, you have to make sure that it doesn’t become your identity even though people identify you as that. I was thinking about the day that I would retire a lot and how you want to be remembered, what kind of person you want to be. Something that I also applied in my life was having friends outside of the game which keeps you in touch with normal life.”

You often speak publicly about your faith in Jesus, what was missing in your life, to make you think that you needed to put your faith in something more?

 “I was a young man with a very promising future, but I was living a life of my own, going about it how I wanted and not being focussed. After a lot of partying I reached a point where my conscience started eating me up because I knew the way that I was living wasn’t right. A friend invited me to church and it was a moment that changed the rest of my career, I was twenty years old and I became a born-again Christian. I gave my life to God and said that I would live for him and not for myself. My life was never the same again, he completely turned my life around and gave me fulfilment which is something that sport and partying could not give me.”

 People may say well the only reason you believe that there’s a God is because you were told to think that growing up, what would you say to that?

 “Your parents, whether you believe in something or not, are laying a foundation in your life, so if you are a Christian your parents will lay a Christian foundation, if you are a Muslim or if you believe nothing, you parents are still laying a foundation. But there comes a point in your life where you have to decide for yourself, what you want to believe and what kind of world view you have. For me, that day arrived when I was twenty years old, there had been some foundations laid by my parents but that didn’t make me a Christian. It was the day I decided for myself, not for my friends or my family.”