By Chesley Daniels
Makhanda-born Denilo Jordaan has again made it to the Provincial Podium with his recent selection to the Eastern Province (EP) U/17 Sevens (7’s) rugby team. The National 7’s Rugby Tournament will take place in Bloemfontein from 2-3 October 2023. Jordaan’s inclusion was based on his incredible performance at the 7’s trials at Grey High School during the school holidays.
A natural sportsperson, Jordaan stood out from his friends even when playing barefoot in the dusty streets of Vergenoeg, Makhanda at a very early age. Born in the town, Jordaan attended St Mary’s Primary School until Grade Five and played his first rugby match at the age of 11 for St Mary’s. He then went to live with his father, Alvin Marney, in Port Alfred, and represented the Port Alfred High School (PAHS) rugby team from U/13 to 1st XV in rugby. Marney is one of his son’s most prominent supporters and regularly attends his son’s rugby matches.
“I always travel with him, whether to home or away games, to motivate and encourage him. I am ecstatic and proud of him for making the EP team again and for his inclusion in the side that will compete in the National 7’s event. I have no words to describe how I feel,” Marney said.
Marney added that his son “is mad about his sport. He is a very dedicated, committed, and hardworking player and will always go the extra mile”.
The 16-year-old Jordaan was also selected for the VKB Invitational Rugby Side that toured Ireland in December last year, whilst also representing EP U/16 in 2022 as one of the standout players. The multi-talented and skillful scrumhalf produced a stellar performance against Leopards, where he earned the Man of the Match Award. Jordaan played and started in all the games and was EP’s playmaker during the tournament.
Jordaan also received numerous accolades in his sporting career including Best U13 Rugby Player at PAHS, Sarah Baartman U15 7’s Rugby Side, Eastern Cape U15 7’s Rugby Side, EP U16 Rugby Side, VKS U16 Ireland Rugby Tour, Best 1st XV Rugby Player at PAHS and EP U17 7’s Team. He also played in the first XI cricket team for PAHS and excels at athletics.
Jordaan is a highly respectful young sportsman with impeccable manners. He is an Altar Boy for the Port Alfred Catholic Church and lives under strict Christian principles. “He is a pleasure to have as my son. He is a very quiet and respectful young boy. He will do things independently in the house and the yard without us asking him,” says Marney.
Jordaan told Grocott’s Mail he is very excited about his inclusion in the team. “I played my heart out during the 7’s trials, until the last game and gave my best to be where I am. I am very proud of myself for achieving one of my goals and will continue working very hard,” he said.
His role model is Antoine Dupont from France, his hero is Bryan Habana the Springbok legend, and his dream is to play at Loftus Versveld and wear the Springbok jersey one day. The young scrumhalf is training four times a week and working very hard to improve his game. When asked what advice he had for his son, Marney pointed to “temptations” like alcohol and drugs.
“Young people should avoid negative people and the wrong friendship circle. I know what talent he has – he must work harder to improve it. Denilo must always respect his coaches, teachers, and his peers. He should always remember that he should never be bigger than the game and remain humble,” he said.
Jordaan can’t wait to represent his Province (EP) at the National Tournament in Bloemfontein during the school holidays. He is training very hard and putting in some huge performances, in order to make the SA 7’s Side at the conclusion of the event. He is very excited and all he wants is to make his parents and school proud, he says.