If you’re an avid rugby fan, you will have heard of the popular name ‘Embrose Papier’ making its rounds around the sporting scene - someone who proudly embodies the essence of passion, drive and pure on-field magic.
At 25 years of age, Embrose currently applied his trade for the Vodacom Bulls where is renowned for his speed and ability to break around the fringes.
The Springbok, capped seven times for the national team since 2018, was out of action after sustaining a toe injury earlier in 2021.
Since his return, Papier has worked hard to earn a spot back in the Bulls team and has proven a valuable asset to the Pretoria based team.
It’s been success after success ever since, with a great track record to match. He credits a good team spirit and constructive competition within the team as contributory factors to his own hard work.
The Pretoria Post caught up with Embrose in an exclusive one-on-one interview and got to know the ‘other’ side to the sportsman, the one off the rugby field.
Who is Embrose Papier?
An easy going guy that likes to joke around, but tends to be serious during work hours. I am quiet when around new people, but once I get to know them I open up and like a chat. Love chilling by the braai with family and friends, and a day at the beach. I recently got into Fortnite gaming. I'm into street style clothing and sports cars.
What was your childhood and upbringing like?
I was born in Clanwilliam hospital but raised in the small fisherman’s town called, Lamberts Bay on the coast of the Western Cape. I was raised by my mother and spent my afternoons having tea and sandwiches with my grandmother until my mom came home from work. In my town it was the norm for kids to walk 30 minutes to school and back each day, and that is exactly what I did. After that we would play touch rugby in the streets until dark.
What is one of your fondest memories from your younger days?
My friends and I all had dogs and on weekends we would walk the dogs to the beach and we would chill in the sand until the dogs were tired of playing in the sea. It was just our group of boys with no parents, which was a normal thing back then.
What motivated you to become a sportsperson?
I never thought that I would become a professional sportsman. It all started with the men in my family playing in community rugby, as little boys we all looked up to the community players and played touch rugby every day. My grandpa always had rugby on the television.
What other sports do you love other than the one in which you already are a professional?
Golf, I try to play it as often as I can in my free time. I also like watching big soccer matches.
What is your favourite workout regime?
I like full body weight training.
What does it mean to you to be a part of a team, such as the Blue Bulls?
It is a honour to be part of, they have such a established brand and loyal supporters to the point where it feels like a family. You always want to be on the top of your game because you represent a brand that means so much to people.
What kind of diet do you adopt as a professional sportsman?
I try to have consume a lot of home-cooked protein and vegetables with a balanced amount of carbs, I don’t cut anything out but I limit my intake of sugary food and takeout’s.
Who is your favourite sports hero?
Cristiano Ronaldo, his dedication and drive is admirable.
How did Hoërskool Garsfontein aid you in becoming a better sportsman?
They have outstanding facilities for rugby, the coaches are great and the type of rugby brand they are playing is of a high standard.
What is one of the main reasons you like being part of a team sport?
You take the wins and the loses together. You are never alone, everyone is always willing to help out when help is needed. Everyone wants to learn and is willing to share advice on how to succeed in all parts of life.
How do you and your teammates make practice fun, at the Blue Bulls?
We like playing cards and drinking coffee during breaks or in the mornings. We often prank each other with a scare and we recently decided to make funny fines as a punishment if you break any rule like having to dance in front of everyone if you are late.
Who do you wish was watching you perform at every game or match?
My family and my girlfriend. I know they watch every game, but I wish they could be at every match in person.
What is your favourite song to listen to prior to competing?
I like listening to Dermot Kennedy’s album, I don’t have a favourite one I just put it on shuffle.
What do you love about living in Pretoria?
I like the Jacaranda trees and the friendly people.
How does being an athlete make you a better person?
It makes me more determined to stay focused on my goals. It made me a more respectful person since the public eye is always watching and you never know when someone who looks up to you is around, so you try to always be on your best behaviour. It also made me very aware of my health and to take good care of myself.
What is the one thing you always do after a good performance?
I like to celebrate with a few beers and a braai with my friends and girlfriend.
What inspires you to give your best every single day?
Currently I do my best to not let anyone down who believes in me and supports me. For the future I would like to provide my future children with the best as far as I can and I would like to leave a legacy, so I am building towards that.
Where is your favourite go-to place in Pretoria?
I like to go to Hazelwood, the area with all the nice restaurants.
We all have our own struggles. What kind of struggles have you overcome in the past?
I had to overcome a few injuries that happened in close proximity to each other, so it was difficult to stay motivated during that time as it felt like I overcame one thing the next one came. It was difficult times and I needed a lot of support to get through it.
What does it mean to you to a role model to so many?
It puts the right amount of pressure on me to do my best every day. It is one of my biggest motivations since I know that there is someone out there looking up to me.
Embrose - a true hero in every sense, and impeccable style to match!
Follow his journey: https://www.instagram.com/embrosepapier_9/