Seabelo Senatla on travel and other things that aren’t rugby

Posted on 14 July 2021

He’s got to see some amazing parts of the world, but for Blitzbok star and Springbok 15s hopeful Seabelo Senatla, there really is no place like home.

I’ve travelled to a lot of places, especially with the Sevens team. I try to do as much as I can. But the second time I go there I just want to chill. I think it’s because, in most of the cities we travel to, the attractions are man-made. I’m a nature-lover, that’s why my home base of Cape Town is my favourite city.

I love coming back home. It’s just beautiful, there’s so much to do. It’s so easy to buzz between city and nature, a lot of other places don’t have that. Like Dubai… it’s amazing, but once you’ve been there, you’ve been there, you know? There’s nothing more to see, it’s all concrete. I love being in nature, camping somewhere like the Cederberg, in the mountains, trying to escape the real world.

It’s experiences, rather than places that stick out In New Zealand, we visited a farm just outsideHamilton where they made the Lord of the Rings films… that was incredible.

Away from the rugby field, I like water – I have a huge relationship with water, even just chilling on the rocks and watching the waves break. Water has a way of restoring, replenishing. I surf quite a bit. Melkbos is my go-to spot.

I also play golf with my friends. I used to think it was a disgusting sport but it brings a calm to me. Being out there for 4–5 hours, just concentrating on the little white ball – some restorative effect happens. As rugby players, we have a lot of pressure so anything that takes you away from the game is good.

I’m not your archetypal rugby player, I don’t fit the mould. Rugby is tough and hard but outside of the game, I have some duality to me. Everything I do is different, the way I dress is different. People used to be like ‘what is he?’ I’ve always been comfortable with being different, thoughI’m just being me. We’re all unique and you won’t get fulfilment by trying to be someone else.

I have a wine brand, called Glory. The idea came about as I was starting to move away from Sevens. I had so much success in Sevens – many people say it has been my glory years although I think it’s too early to say that – but at any rate, I wanted to take my hat off to that phase in my life, do something to celebrate it. Wine at the time was the answer. Obviously, Stellenbosch influenced that, staying there and tasting wine at the farms and so on. So I met up with Idiom and luckily they’re very experimental and were quite receptive to the idea.

My short-term goal is to be involved in The Lions Series. Even though I’ve not been in the Springbok set-up before – and the Springbok wings we have right now are really good – I see myself in the same light. I want to be in the running.

Seabelo’s Six of the best

1. Best place (You can’t choose Cape Town) Haha. Sydney, because it reminds me of Cape Town.

2. Best meal
My mom’s bohobe (steamed bread). It’s very soft. She makes it with stew, spinach, pumpkin or butternut.

3. Best Player
I’ve played with I have two, Justin Geduld and Cheslin Kolbe. You play alongside them but when you watch them you’re like ‘Wow!’ The things that they do… they’re so talented. What they have… you can’t train for, it’s just pure talent.

4. Best player I’ve played against

William Mbaka (Kenya)
I played against him in 2015. That year he was just … on fire, unbelievably hot. He could do anything, he had so many things in his arsenal. In one game in Scotland, he went through four of us. He was untouchable that season.

5. Best way to kill time

I’m a sleeper. Sleep is my thing. I read quite a lot now too, and I also like my music (mainly hip-hop, but not commercial, moreunderground stuff).

Best book
Pepe Marais’ Growing Greatness. Quite a wonderful book. It’s by a South African author. Whatever I do, I try to celebrate our people first because we have so many gems in Africa and we don’t celebrate ourselves as much as we should. Africa comes first to me.

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