By Joanna Delalande
After a nail-biting final against New Zealand, South Africa's Sevens side, the Springboks, came out on top for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth games.
Forward player Cornal Hendricks could not be more proud of their final 17-12 victory and sees it as an honour.
"Winning a gold medal means a lot to this team, it means a lot to this country," Cornal says. "I think it brought the guys closer, made the brotherhood stronger."
Cornal had a slow start to the games against Trinidad and Tobago, but picked up the pace with three tries against Cook Islands.
“All our talent comes from God”Cornal began his career in rugby union with the Boland Cavaliers, debuting in a game against the Free State Cheetahs in the 2008 Currie Cup Premier Division. He remained with them over the next five seasons. He was also a member of the S.A. Sevens team in the 2011-2012 and the 2012-2013 IRB Seven World Series.
Later Cornal signed a contract with the Cheetahs to join them for the 2014 season. He played with them, generally on the wing, but in May 2014 was one of the eight uncapped players selected to play for the Springboks.
But Cornal takes no credit for his success. While out on the field, the player says a prayer every time he gets a try, and after each game the team also gathers in prayer.
"All honour to God," he says. "I am a Christian, I am not afraid to say it. And a number of the guys [on the team] are Christians. All our talent comes from God."
Cornal says he strives to grow closer to his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ every day.
He finds encouragement from his favourite verse, Philippians chapter 4 verse 13: "I can do all things [situations in life] through Christ who gives me strength."
"My journey with God is awesome," says Cornal. "I am still learning a lot from God and I just want to be close to Him, every second and every minute."
Above all, Cornal wants to give glory to God on the field and be an inspiration to young people. He strives to be a good role model and always gives the game his all when he plays.
"When I step onto the field I ask God to make me a servant of Him and to let me play with everything I've got. To inspire every little kid out there and every little person whose hopes are gone," he says.
As for his own inspiration, Cornal finds support through his Christian walk from other Christians around him, for example fellow player Chris Dry, who is his room-mate.
"We read the Bible and pray for each other. It helps a lot," Cornal says. "Every time I step onto the field I know God is with me and He will protect me."•