After winning the South African Sevens Player of the Year award and also being nominated for the global prize, Seabelo Senatla is now ready for the next step in his career.
And come next year’s Super Rugby tournament, the winger will make his first full shift from the Sevens game to the 15-man code.
Senatla, 23, will play in the first four tournaments of the Sevens Series – the last of which will be in Australia on 4-5 February – before joining coach Robbie Fleck and the Stormers as they search for their first gold in Super Rugby.
Having been tipped as a future Springbok, Senatla suffered a wrist injury while on Sevens duty at the Olympic Games earlier this year and admits that he is still working hard to fully recover from the injury.
He has also made peace with the fact that he is not currently with the Springboks in the UK and preparing for a pre-season tournament with the Sevens team in Namibia next weekend.
Senatla explains: “[The injury is] coming along nicely, it’s getting stronger every week.
“I’m kind of safe where I am [now] – I wouldn’t have been 100 percent [for the tour] because I still needed to strengthen the hand.
“Now I’m doing hand-offs, I’m back to passing strong and I don’t think I would’ve been as valued as I would’ve been [if I wast fully fit]. I wasn’t going to be 100 percent.”
Of his switch to the 15s game, Senatla adds: “I am pretty excited – I always said [that would be] the start of the second phase of my career and I want to focus on 15s now.
“It is going to be different – but I’m really excited and eager to slot in there. Ultimately, I want to play Springboks, because that’s the bigger dream.”
He’s achievements in the Sevens format have not gone by unnoticed and Senatla writes that down to hard work behind the scenes.
He adds: “It feels great [to be nominated].
“As an athlete you know you work hard and you put in the extra sessions – one man when no one is watching at night.
“All the effort you put in is coming out.
“When you put so much effort in and when you see some fruition out of it, you get that satisfaction that it’s not just for anything – it is for something.”