AIMING HIGH: South African Rhinos rugby league team are looking to the world stage.
AIMING HIGH: South African Rhinos rugby league team are looking to the world stage. Contributed

Playing on a national stage

Rugby League: Tieri local Andre-Carl Joubert recently represented the South Africa Rhinos in an international test match to gain ranking points and improve the team's chances for the Rugby League World Cup Qualifiers taking place next year.

Mr Joubert, who plays for the Springsure Mountian Men in the local Central Highlands comp, along with Emerald Cowboys player of the year Jason King, were chosen to play for the South Africa Rhinos due to their South African heritage and being born in South Africa.

"The feeling of representing my country, family and heritage was massive,” he said.

"My excitement was indescribable, it was something I never thought would come true. The tears flowed as I sung the national anthem and all I could think about was how proud my parents were that I was representing my country and my family.

"As a young kid you dream of playing for the Springboks in Rugby Union but representing the South Africa Rhinos is just as amazing.”

Mr Joubert attended training camp in Sydney with the South Africa Rhinos, which took place Tuesday, October 9, through to Saturday, October 13, with the match played on the Friday night at Kellyville Ridge Stadium which saw the team go down 18-8 to Italy.

"All of us South African boys played super well considering Italy played in the World Cup last year compared to South Africa who last played in a World Cup in 2000,” Mr Joubert said.

"Jason King injured himself at training causing him to miss the game.”

He said he is hoping to play more games for the South Africa Rhinos in the future.

"I want to help the boys get to a World Cup, that is our ultimate goal,” he said.

"South Africa are already on the map for rugby union and now we are trying to get them on the map for rugby league and appear in another World Cup.”

Mr Joubert said he was living in Middlemount when he first got involved with Rugby League.

"I have played league for nearly nine years,” he said.

"My best mate Micheal Dyson got me involved to play, so to see how far I've come is pretty amazing. Also, to have Michael attend the game to watch me was amazing, it was good to see him there supporting me.

"Representing South Africa in any sport was always my dream as a kid, to honour my family, my country ad my heritage was amazing, to say I am now an international player also feels amazing.

"I cant describe the feeling I had when I made my debut, it was so surreal and something I can finally say I have done.

"I want to say thankyou to my parents for always supporting me and pushing me to do my best, without them I would have never dreamt of coming this far.”

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