Born in Welkom in 1993, Blitz Bok flyer Seabelo Senatla has always had a passion for sport. While he competed in everything from tennis and cricket to football and running, rugby was something he did only as a social thing.
He always thought he would pursue a career in football, but in matric he started playing academy rugby for the Griffons. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.
After school, he took a gap year and considered his options while playing for the academy.
“It was then I decided to really work hard at my rugby and ended up playing for the Griffons in the Currie Cup. I went to the Central University of Technology to study and received a scholarship to play rugby at U/19 and U/21 level for the Cheetahs.
“During that time, (then) Springbok Sevens coach Paul True saw me and offered me a two-year contract to play for South Africa,” says Senatla.
Having the opportunity to play sevens rugby has been great for him and he has established himself as one of the top South African players. He is a prolific try scorer on the international circuit and is known for not only his pace, but also his great feel for the game.
“Playing sevens rugby you learn to get used to pressure and it quickly becomes part of your comfort zone. I would highly recommend it for youngsters so they can get the skills in place before pushing themselves to the 15-man format. With sevens, there is no hiding place so it really is a case of sink or swim.”
And it is in this high-pressure environment that he thrives.
“I know I will never be perfect, but I just have to be better than I was yesterday. My advice to everyone is that you just need to keep pushing yourself and enjoy what you do. When it comes to sport, remember that it is an escape and something wonderful to be part of. Never give up and that will echo in all aspects of your life.” — Iwan Pienaar