Platinum miner Sidney Tobias broke the odds with the Bulls … like his Springbok father

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Sidney Tobias.  (Photo by Christiaan Kotze/Gallo Images)

Sidney Tobias. (Photo by Christiaan Kotze/Gallo Images)

  • It appears that the Tobias family was born to eliminate obstacles in South African rugby.
  • Forty years after Errol became the first Springbok of the street, his youngest son Sidney shared with the Bulls that rugby club does not mean the end of his professional career.
  • The 33-year-old hooker has a new appreciation for the game after doing a hard yard by juggling his playing career as a rock engineer at Northam Platinum.

The Tobias family is clearly one born to break the odds in South African rugby, although their achievements vary.

Errol will remain a great, brick -and -mortar pioneer from Caledon who will be the first color player to appear wearing a Springbok jersey during his debut against Ireland at Newlands in 1981.

The nimble pivot started in the middle, broke the line and gave Rob Louw a pass that saw a flanker score on the same evening.

Three years later, he earned the honor of scoring a test at Ellis Park, remembering leaving England center John Palmer holding the air with a disdainful hand.

Just shy of the next 40 years, Tobias ’youngest son, Sidney, has overcome his own obstacles.

Sidney’s performances, of course, aren’t as glittering as his father’s, but the 33 -year -old Bulls hook has clearly shown to every local player that club rugby can lead to a career resurgence.

It’s not a cul de sac saying.

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A former Paul Roos student, Tobias played age and senior level rugby for the Western Provinces and Southwest Districts before moving to Pretoria to become a second member of the Tuks Varsity Cup squad before a severe leg injury appeared to erode his confidence.

The move to Griquas proved generally inconvenient and the overseas move to Zebre in Italy lasted one season.

He returned to South Africa in 2018 with little rugby influence, resulting in him working full -time – as Errol had to do when he finally created his own construction company – at Northam Platinum.

“It really gives a different perspective,” Tobias said Monday, before the Bulls Currie Cup meeting with the Cheetahs on Saturday.

“You just see rugby and life in general in a new way, especially when you’re working full-time, juggling all the other priorities.”

Indeed, Tobias himself had to reorganize his daily life as he was scheduled to stay fit and conditioned on the ground three times a week at the Zondereinde mine, where he worked as a rock engineer.

Over the weekend, he became a star attraction for the Northam Rhinos.

“I have to work out from 07:00 to 16:00 every day, which means I have to get up at 04:30 in the morning to go to the gym and quickly leave after the shift to go back and do my own fitness workouts in the evening,” he said.

“It’s really weird. Even though I’ve only played club rugby for three years, I never considered myself one.

“I still believe I’m good enough to play professionally, so I’m sticking to a six -day training regime.”

Then, last year, the Bulls – led by union president Willem Strauss and rugby director Jake White – decided to align the club’s strong rugby structure with a professional party.

And while it became apparent that the team would be short of hookers for the Rainbow Cup final in Italy, White had little hesitation in telling Tobias to temporarily stop planning a stable dig and come play rugby full-time again.

“Some of my friends joked that I was Lazarus from the Bible, I’m not sure,” he said with a laugh.

“I’m just blessed Jake is willing to have a look at the players in the club system and give him a chance. I’ve really taken the journey to heart. I’ve learned the lesson of being given a second chance.

“You tend to live in a bubble as a professional player. You get paid to do what you love. It’s not something players realize. When you start experiencing how people work 9-10 hours a day, you appreciate that full-time player more.”

Now, they just want to contribute to a “world -class” setup.

How does Errol, a man with Provincial blood pumping through his veins and who enjoys a close relationship with his son, feel about Sidney turning out to be an old enemy?

“I like to think he was quite proud. He was quite excited when he got the opportunity last year,” he said.

“I think he just wants me to perform to the best of my ability. I’m sure he knows that in this day and age, there’s nothing like rugby loyalty. You play where you get paid.”

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