Inventive Border Bulldogs utility back Masixole “Coyi” Banda has set his sights on winning a berth in the Southern Kings Super Rugby squad.
Banda is in Port Elizabeth on trial and should know shortly whether he has made the cut for the squad, which has started to train.
Banda enjoyed a fine Currie Cup season for the Bulldogs and helped them to reach the semifinals of the competition, which earned him the coveted First Division Player of the Season award.
“I am very happy to be part of the Southern Kings squad and I will have to work very hard to be up with the best,” Banda said.
“I can play flyhalf and fullback and I do not mind which of those two positions I play. “So far the training here at the Kings has been good and you have to work hard and motivate yourself. I am feeling very positive about things.”
Banda said he was delighted to have been given the opportunity to prove himself for Super Rugby.
“Of course, kicking is a very important part of my game and after training I spend about 90 minutes working on it,” he said.
“I enjoy being the kicker and don’t mind the pressure that comes with it. I am used to that. ”
“I like to play running rugby and my goal is to play Super Rugby. “At this stage, I am not sure how long the trial will be here.”
Banda played his school rugby at Ithembelihle High School in New Brighton and was always a standout player.
He was named in the EP U19 squad for the 2009 Provincial Championship competition and played for them at U21 level during the 2010 and 2011 U21 Provincial Championship seasons, making six starts.
He was also included in an EP Kings side that played against the South Africa U20 side in 2011.
In 2014, the Kings announced that several club players would join their wider training squad for the 2014 Vodacom Cup and Banda was included in that squad.
He made his first-class debut against the Border Bulldogs in Grahamstown and scored two first-half tries on debut to help the Kings to a 60-6 win against their Eastern Cape rivals.
This year Banda enjoyed a superb season for the Bulldogs, helping them to the semifinals, where they fell to eventual champions the Griffons.
“I was surprised to get the Player of the Season award. I wasn’t expecting it, but I am very happy to have won it,” Banda said.
“This is the biggest award of my career and I really enjoyed the experience at the awards. “I would have been happier if the team had won the trophy, rather than me winning the individual award.”
“I enjoy playing flyhalf because the phases start with me, I am like the general and I enjoy controlling the game, whereas at fullback I see less of the ball. ”
“So I need to keep up the intensity and make sure that I keep improving.”