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Quality competition is contributing to the gradual growth of the Vodacom Bulls team, says scrumhalf, Embrose Papier.

The 24-year-old recently returned to action for the Vodacom Bulls at the start of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship after being sidelined for close to six months with an injury.

“It’s great to be back and to be part of the action. It was a long and tough period watching the boys from the stands. It’s really great to be involved again,” Papier reflected.

The Springbok, capped seven times for the national team since 2018, was out of action after sustaining a toe injury earlier in the year.

“The toughest was the time being spent at home, unable to walk and just lying on the couch. I was fortunate to have some of my family and friends, who are close to me, supporting me. The rehabilitation and just trying to remain motivated during that period was not easy.

“I tore ligaments in my big toe, and I was in a moonboot for a month after seeing a specialist. I then went to see the specialist again, and I was out for five months after that.”

Since his return, Papier worked hard to earn a spot back in the Vodacom Bulls team and was rewarded with a starting berth in the recent clash against the Cell C Sharks in Durban a week and a half ago. He credits a good team spirit and constructive competition within the team as contributory factors to his own hard work.

“I must say, we have great scrumhalves here at the Vodacom Bulls. Each day, we make each other better. I definitely got better in the process, working on small elements like my passing and kicking. It was also a good time for me to refresh and find myself as well during that time,” he said.

“I think all of our No9’s have a great bond, not just on the field but off the field as well. I’m sure that we will continue to help each other to get better. We continuously work together to improve each other’s skills, as long as we have that good, positive competition and a positive mindset.”

While making a contribution to his side’s Vodacom URC cause remains his main priority, Papier also has one eye on working his way back onto the national team’s radar.

“Playing for the Springboks will always be in my mind. I’m still contracted to the Vodacom Bulls until 2024 and will continue giving my best to the side. So, there is definitely something to work towards – both at the Vodacom Bulls and the Springboks.”

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