Van Zyl still adapting to Polish weather

• By Michael Uugwanga

NAMIBIAN rugby player Riaan van Zyl who recently moved to Poland to play professional rugby at Juvenia Kraków in the Polish top tier rugby league has said that he is still adapting to the climate of that country.

He is however no stranger to cold weather, having previously played professional rugby in Russia two seasons ago.

He turned out for Strela in Russia, while in Namibia he played for Wanderers and Truscto United.

Van Zyl was approached by Juvenia Kraków’s officials in December, after identifying the 29-year-old as a player that can play in the position of attack, despite the player’s favourite position being that of fullback.

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Speaking to Confidente from Poland, Van Zyl said that he feels good to have been given another chance to play professional rugby in Europe, while hoping to stay a bit longer in Europe after signing a one-year contract.

“I am still adapting to the language and all the moves, but I am surely getting there. This time of the year it is always raining and snowing, so it is cold but I am waiting for the summer in March.

“It feels good to be back in Europe playing rugby. It is been a while with everything going on in the world with Covid-19 and so on.

“The contract is for the year but we will see how the season goes and negotiate with them for the future.

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I am currently in Kraków and I am sharing a flat with an Argentine player that also recently joined the team this season,” he said.

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Van Zyl is expected to make his debut for his new club on March 6 against RC Arka Gdyna.

“Training has been good. Players and coaches are very supportive. It is very different as each club/country has its own preparations.”

On the international front, Van Zyl has been struggling to establish himself as first choice starter for the men senior rugby side, the Welwitschias; however his move to Poland could just give coach Allister Coetzee a selection headache.

Van Zyl also said that Coetzee was one of the few people that congratulated him on his move to Europe.

“There will always be the hope to represent my country, but that is for the coaches to decide. I will keep on working hard this side and keep improving myself.

“Yes, coach Coetzee sent me best wishes for my season here in Poland.”

Kraków is a southern Poland city near the border of the Czech Republic and has a population of just over 766 000 inhabitants.