Stormers debut a dream come true for Marais
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: After featuring for several teams over the years, Sarel Marais finally got the opportunity to play for the team he idolised growing up.
Fullback Marais made his Stormers debut in the 37-24 win over the Bulls at Newlands last weekend. The 27-year-old also scored a brilliant try in the 15th minute of that game.
Marais, who has over 100 first class games to his credit, has played for the Boland Cavaliers (age groups), Leopards, Eastern Province and Southern Kings, Sharks and most recently the Bulls before signing for the Stormers.
"I have been around the block obviously," Marais told reporters at the Stormers' base in Bellville. "It was not my choice. It is being forced by decisions out of my hands.
"I think that is what people sometimes forget - it is not your choice. Sometimes you have to move constantly and some people are fortunate to stay in one place."
He added: "I am from Cape Town, so I know the city well. I have been at school at Paarl Boys', so I enjoy Cape Town.
"I always loved playing at Newlands because it has always been a special place for me. Saturday was exceptionally special for me because I have been going to Newlands since I was four years old with my dad.
"It is just a very special place with special memories off the field and now on the field, so it was a massive honour and privilege for me to play my first game for the Stormers. It is obviously a dream come true."
Marais said 2016 was a particularly difficult year moving between Durban, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria.
"I always had a dream to play for the Stormers, because I grew up here. But I had to walk the long route.
"I only played at places that gave me an opportunity and coming back here is special for me.
"I am just happy to have the opportunity. Last year, was probably one of the toughest years. I moved from Durban to PE where I stayed for two months before to moving back to Durban for seven weeks. I then had to move Pretoria for 12 weeks before moving back to PE for another two months. I then came to Cape Town," said Marais.
The journeyman fullback has learnt a lot in his rugby career so far.
"I have learned a lot of lessons - a lot of rough lessons. I am just thankful and appreciative to be at the Stormers. It is a massive privilege," he said.