Sport24 asked: Address the composition of your
squad for this tour and the returning players.
Kyle Brown: We decided to travel with 13 players for this
trip and therefore made seven changes to the squad that toured New Zealand and
Australia. After the Australasian leg, Juan de Jongh and Cheslin Kolbe returned
to the Stormers for the Super Rugby campaign, while Francois Hougaard has
joined Worcester Warriors for an eight-week stint. Needless to say, I believe the
inclusion of the aforementioned players proved a great success when judged
according to our goal of growing the depth of the pre-Olympic squad. All three
players contributed incredibly well both on and off the field. Meanwhile, it’s always
great to witness the return of the electric pairing of Cecil Afrika and Branco
du Preez. It seems like ages since I’ve been on the playing field with ‘Brancs’
and I’m really excited to see him get into it again. Vegas has been a great
place to compete over the last few years, but none of that counts when it all
begins. We will be aiming to get into our rhythm in no time at all.
asked: A few new players have entered the fray. How has team unity been forged?
Brown: Our set-up is on one level, and the new
players join below that level because it’s either their first time in the team fold
or they haven’t been here in a few years. I feel it’s the responsibility not
only of the individual to educate himself and work as hard as he can, but it’s
the duty of the set-up as a whole to go down and pick up the players so we that
can move forward as one as quickly as possible. As we spend so much time
together on the road and in each other’s faces representing the Blitzboks on
the World Sevens circuit, the ability to work effectively in a group setting is
asked: What are the living arrangements like on tour and what keeps you
Brown: We are always paired together in rooms and
in that way we have created such a cool team vibe. My regular roommate on tour
is Cecil and we can literally have the Bad Boys I and II movies, starring Will
Smith and Martin Lawrence, running in the background for the duration of the
tour. Cecil is able to repeat all of the lines from the films word for word, and
it’s funny every single time. Smith is my favourite actor. I dig his work and,
for my money, anything he touches is gold.
asked: You debuted for the Blitzboks in 2008. How do you stay motivated each
Brown: My driving force as a member of this team is
to be part of something special. For me, it’s about looking back years from now
and saying, “I was part of that set-up, we won that medal or we narrowly missed
out in that tournament, but what a fight it was.” Because we go through so much
together as a group, we have truly become a band of brothers. I believe that
the person and player I have developed into today is because of all the positive,
supportive people surrounding me.
asked: What separates winners from losers? And what has led to your longevity?
Brown: A positive attitude through successes and
defeats. Success can completely inflate a player’s ego and those that develop
big heads become one-season wonders. They venture off the path and forget the
reason why they’re playing the oval game. The reason I’ve remain grounded is
because I wasn’t a superstar at schoolboy level and I didn’t even play Craven
Week. I didn’t attain the highest accolades when I was a youngster and I’ve worked
my tail off to be where I am today.
asked: Was there a particular player you modelled your game on or admired from
Brown: Yes. Australian flanker George Smith is a
player I’ve always admired. A big
reason for that is based on the fact that we are almost the same height. For
me, measuring up at dead-on six foot and trying to play as an openside flanker
in South Africa was difficult. However, Smith proved that you don’t have to be
well over six foot in order to be an effective flanker in the modern game. And
he is still playing great rugby at Wasps at the age of 35. He is physical when
he needs to be, is smart on the ball and is a pretty effective playmaker and
link-man between the forwards and backs.
asked: Away from the four white lines you walked down the aisle. How’s married
Married life is deep. Tarryn and I met at the end of 2005 and starting dating
in 2006. When you take that next step to marriage it’s really special. We have settled
down a few kilometres outside of Stellenbosch and are starting to build our
lives here and getting into our daily routines.