Dweba: I’m playing rugby for my son

Rich Dore
14 February 2020

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With Bongi Mbonambi, Malcolm Marx and Schalk Brits the World Cup champions had a squad full of hooking talent – many are now tipping Joseph Dweba to be the next Springbok up.

At 24, the dreadlocked No.2 continues to go from strength to strength after dominating the 2019 Currie Cup with the Toyota Cheetahs and now tearing up the Guinness PRO14.

We caught up with the second-highest try-scorer in the Championship to discuss all things Cheetahs, Springboks and beating Leinster on Saturday, to find out what’s fuelling his rise.

“My son is 18 months old now and he’s so busy, he’s just busy!” said the Cheetahs hooker. “His name is Khayoné – he’s my first boy.

“100 percent I want him to grow up to be a rugby player, first up though I will want him to focus on his studies! But yes, after that I can definitely see him being the next big thing!

“I don’t want to put any pressure on him of course, I just want him to enjoy his life.

“Just like my dad did with me, enjoy your life, and this is the sport that I chose. I wouldn’t force him into rugby if he didn’t want to choose it.

“He brings joy to my heart. I mean, he’s my first baby and he’s one of the reasons why I’m playing so much and why I’m excited to play each and every weekend, it’s basically for him.

“I play for my son and I want him to grow up realising that everything his dad’s doing is for him. I don’t want him to ever struggle like how I grew up.

“When I leave home, I first talk to him, talk to his mother as well and tell him ‘listen, I’m playing for you.’

“When we get to the club we just play music and get excited, dance around a bit, and then on-field I know what my purpose is, I think about that and just go for it.”

Dweba’s focus is there for all to see, with the only people struggling those defenders bounced out of the powerhouse hooker’s path on the way to the line.

The front rower, who came to the Cheetahs in 2014 via the Golden Lions and South Africa Schools, was named 2019 Currie Cup Player of the Year a few weeks ago and has seven scores this season – only teammate Rhyno Smith has more.

All bulging biceps and bursts of pace, Dweba has picked up the attentions of many a European fan this season and has taken note of the Springbok links being whispered, with Cheetahs success the route to that goal.

He continued: “Rugby is not a one-player sport, it’s a 15-man effort. Actually it’s a 23-man effort so if it wasn’t for the team I wouldn’t be able to get those tries.

“So first of all credit to them, and then I’m really excited to get man of the matches and things, it just means I’m performing well in the team. I’m just so thankful that they’re on my side and we’re in it together.

“Nowadays hookers are very quick and you should know that you’re counted as a loose forward, a flanker, and you have to perform.

“As a young player I always aspired to play for my country, so that’s definitely one of my dreams to play for South Africa.

“But first of all for me to play for my country I need to play for my club and get them to win. If we can get success in the Guinness PRO14 then I’m sure it wouldn’t just be me up for selection with South Africa, there will be a whole lot more of our guys too.”

If the Bloemfontein side are to get that enhanced recognition, the next few rounds of the Championship are the perfect place to do it.

Last season left frustrations with a sixth-place finish in Conference A, but after derby wins in recent weeks Hawies Fourie’s men are up to third and back on a European tour.

“In camp we’re quite excited for the next few weeks coming now,” Dweba added. “Obviously first game is Leinster then we’ve got Ulster and then Dragons.

“Leinster is going to be a tough one obviously but we’re still excited to be back. They are the toughest team in the PRO14 and probably in Europe in general so we’re going to go there and not hold anything back.

“It’s a great challenge and we’ll say ‘listen, whatever you guys bring, we’re also going to bring to the table!

“Leinster are the benchmark and everyone’s gunning for them!

“Now I feel like at the Cheetahs we’ve built, we’re ready to go and we want to move forward, I’m incredibly excited for this challenge and I know all the boys are as well.”

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