There was a time where Trevor Nyakane’s critics believed he was all style and no substance, particularly after he gained worldwide fame for his viral video comically imitating Welsh flyhalf Dan Biggar’s kicking routine.
His Bulls captain and Springbok teammate, Handre Pollard, still labels him an “interesting character”, but there’s a crucial fact to take into consideration nowadays: the joker is now a reliable workhorse.
And that newfound maturity and consistency will see him being rewarded with a 100th Super Rugby cap when the Bulls take on the Stormers at Newlands this weekend.
He’s the fifth South African front rower to achieve that distinction.
“Trevor hitting 100 caps is quite something,” Pollard said from Loftus on Wednesday.
“It’s unbelievable for a prop to do that these days. It’s not a position I want to be playing and he’s done so hundred times now.
“Everyone knows Trevor’s a character, but he actually brings a lot of calmness to the dressing room. He’s a very chilled guy. He has his moments where he dances, but he’s a wonderful team man, never complains about anything. He could easily complain, he’s one of the older guys and yet he never does. It’s always just positive things that come out when he speaks.”
Nyakane’s form is particularly pleasing for Bulls coach, Pote Human, himself a man who admits he has a soft spot for the men in the engine room.
“Trevor’s a superb player. He might have some sideshows off the field, but when he runs onto the field, he performs. He and Lizo (Gqoboka) have gelled superbly as a prop pair and they are two players any coach will dream of working with,” he said.
“His achievement shows his consistency. He plays at a high level week-in and week-out.”
Bulls: Warrick Gelant, Johnny Kotze, Jesse Kriel, Burger Odendaal, Jade Stighling, Handre Pollard (c), Ivan van Zyl, Duane Vermeulen, Hanro Liebenberg, Marco van Staden, RG Snyman, Jannes Kirsten, Trevor Nyakane, Jaco Visagie, Lizo Gqoboka. Bench: Johan Grobbelaar, Simphiwe Matanzima, Wiehahn Herbst, Thembelani Bholi, Paul Schoeman, Embrose Papier, Manie Libbok, Divan Rossouw.