26th Feb 2021
Swanepoel's inclusion at fullback, in place of the injured EW Viljoen, is one of only two changes to the side that grabbed a come-from-behind win over Tafel Lager Griquas last weekend, with his short cameo off the bench in Kimberley enough proof to Xerox Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen to hand him a first start in South Africa's oldest competition.
Swanepoel must have thought the rugby gods were against him. He was due to start in the aborted Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked clash against the Phakisa Pumas and when he did get a run off the bench last weekend in Kimberley, the match was called off due to bad weather.
The 24-year-old Swanepoel replaced Viljoen after 30 minutes, but less than 20 minutes later, the match was called off.
Swanepoel will find a number of familiar faces amongst his opponents. The fullback was schooled at Stellenberg High School (as was opposing wing, Angelo Davids) and played for DHL Western Province at all age groups – at the U13, U16 and U18 Youth Weeks, as well as at U19 and U21 levels.
In fact, he was not only the Cape side’s leading points’ scorer in his U21 year, but also their Player of the Year.
Last year, Swanepoel headed to Australia for a stint with the West Harbour Pirates in Sydney, but he returned to South Africa earlier this year and linked up with the Emirates Lions for their 2020 Vodacom Super Rugby campaign.
He started for the Emirates Lions in their opening clash against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires and took the field in the Vodacom Super Fan Saturday clash at Loftus Versfeld, when the men from Johannesburg were pipped by the DHL Stormers.
Finally though, a dream will be realised for Swanepoel in his first Carling Currie Cup start.