LOMBARD ON …
PLAYING FOR BOLAND AT THE U13 CRAVEN WEEK IN 2011
‘I didn’t take rugby too seriously at that stage and just wanted to enjoy myself. But when I saw the other players in my position, I realised I needed to work harder if I wanted to improve my skills and become a better player.’
PLAYING FOR WESTERN PROVINCE AT THE U16 GRANT KHOMO WEEK IN 2014
‘I felt proud when I was selected for the team because it was one of my goals after playing U13 Craven Week, and I worked hard to achieve it. I also worked on my kicking because I never used to kick for goal, so it was special for me to end the week as the top scorer [36 points].’
NOT PLAYING RUGBY IN 2015 TO FOCUS ON ATHLETICS
‘I felt that I needed a break from rugby, because I’d been playing so much at that point. I also wanted to add an athletics highlight to my school career, and to improve my speed and times.’
WHETHER ATHLETICS HAS HELPED HIM BECOME A BETTER RUGBY PLAYER
‘It definitely has. My speed and reaction time – which are important to have as a fullback – have improved a lot, thanks to hurdles. You need to react quickly, make quick decisions and attack the line quickly; speed plays a very important role in that. It also helps in terms of beating defenders from a standing start.’
REPRESENTING SOUTH AFRICA AT THE AFRICA AND WORLD YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIPS IN 2015
‘It was one of my goals to represent South Africa, so it was great to be able to achieve it. We were treated like pros and I experienced what it’s like to compete on a big stage. It helped with my rugby because I feel more comfortable and have more self-confidence. It was a great feeling when we won silver in the 4x400m relay at the World Champs.’
PLAYING FOR PAARL BOYS’ 1st XV THIS YEAR
‘It feels great to play with players who I played with at U13, U15 and U16 levels. I feel at home. It was easy making the return back into the team after not playing last year, because we’re all friends. That has also helped our success this year because we know each other well, which helps in a game situation.’
SCORING 55 OF PAARL BOYS’ TOTAL OF 81 POINTS AGAINST WATERKLOOF AND AFFIES AT THE 2016 WILDEKLAWER SUPER SCHOOLS FESTIVAL
‘It was a great achievement for me, but it came as a result of a good team effort as they helped to create opportunities for me.’
HIS RUGBY HERO
‘At the moment it’s Elton Jantjies. When he first came on to the scene he was good, but then he went through a dip. The way in which he came back from that, inspired me.’
HIS GOALS FOR 2016
‘I want to play every game to the best of my ability, and to enjoy every game. I also want to make the Western Province U18 Craven Week team and the SA Schools team.’
EIGHT THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT HIM
– Born in Worcester in the Western Cape.
– Attended Worcester Primary School.
– Is an only child.
– Played 1st XI cricket for Paarl Boys’ when he was 16, and for Boland U15 and U17.
– Does athletics for Paarl Boys’ – his main event is hurdles, but he also runs the 100m.
– Currently in matric.
– Favourite subjects at school are accounting and maths.
– Wants to study sport science and teaching.
PAARL BOYS’ 1st XV COACH SEAN ERASMUS
‘Gianni is a natural ball player; he’s good at everything he does. His athletics background has helped with his explosiveness, power and speed that are behind his rugby success. He has a very bright future in rugby. He’s everything we should be expecting from a fullback – he has a great kicking and attacking game, and is strong defensively. He’s a fullback who can punish any team on the counter-attack.’
Playing street cricket and soccer.
‘Juicy’ by Biggie Smalls.
‘Tough times don’t last, but tough people do’ – Robert H Schuller.
Other teams: Boland U13, WP U16
29 – The number of points Lombard scored in Paarl Boys’ 29-25 win against Affies
– Compiled by Tyrone Engel