Sidney Tobias – a name that is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with in the Pretoria battlefield that is Loftus Versfeld, where the Professional Sportsman from Caledon has successfully laid a firm foundation for his ever-growing career.
As a young scholar, Sidney attended Overberg Primary, but soon left to attend the prestigious Paul Roos Gimnasium in Stellenbosch, where he fast-tracked his way a steady and ever-growing rugby career.
Sidney spent 5 years of his junior career at Western Province before making his official senior debut at the coastal team. It was from there that his career sky-rocketed, applying his trade for not only the Blue Bulls and Tuks, but moving abroad to apply his trade at Zebre, in Italy.
But, it was Sidney’s father, Errol, who set the foundation for his rugby roots, as the first player of colour to ever appear in a Springbok jersey when he debuted against Ireland at Newlands in 1981. 40 years later, Sidney proudly stepped into the spotlight to take over the reigns and continue his father’s legacy.
After his stint abroad, Sidney returned to South Africa in 2018, prompting him to go work full-time, establishing his own construction company - at Northam Platinum. This was no easy task as Sidney himself had to fundamentally rearrange his daily life as he scheduled staying fit and conditioned around going underground three times a week at the Zondereinde mine, where he worked towards becoming a rock engineer, and on weekends, he was the star attraction for Northam Rhinos.
But 2021 marked an important year for Sidney at the Blue Bulls franchise - spearheaded by union president Willem Strauss and director of rugby Jake White - who earmarked Sidney as a key member of the future set up that would ultimately take their team to higher levels, bringing in some much needed strength and talent.
At 33-years old, the sky is the limit for Sidney with a newly refreshed outlook on his career and an important mindset to match. There’s only good things to come from the Hooker of the Blue Bulls and we're here to capture it all.
The Pretoria Post caught up with the ‘gentle giant’ in an exclusive one-on-one interview – this is what he had to say.
Who is Sidney Tobias?
I'm a family man who was brought up with Christian values and am immensely blessed to be able to do what I love for a living.
What motivated you to become a sportsperson?
Growing up with a dad who was a Springbok, and the first player of colour to play for our country, sparked my love for rugby. Seeing exactly what it took to be a professional sportsman created a work ethic in me that I'll be forever grateful for.
You have worked in mining - tell us more about that?
I've been extremely lucky in the sense that I've been exposed to life after being a professional sportsman. It took time to adapt to having a normal work life, in the sense that I had to adjust in going from 3-4 hour work days to 9 hour work days, going underground 3 days a week. I'm currently still study to become a rock engineer just having to do my practical. Mining is a very tough industry, physically and mentally it can take its toll on even the strongest of people, but for me it was always about the end goal, being able to provide a good life to my family and that kept me going.
What other sports do you love other than the one in which you already are a professional?
I like to watch cricket, football and I draw a lot of inspiration from players in the NBA and NFL.
What is your favourite workout regime?
I absolutely love to gym, I don't see it as work as you're looking after your temple (body) but if I had to choose it would probably be to gym chest.
Recovery is also key when it comes to being your best - a post-workout massage at SkinPhD Queenswood or a recovery session with the Hyperice Hypervolt Go 2 device is the perfect way to release to loosen up muscles, increase oxygen and blood flow into muscles, and remove lactic acid buildup.
What does it mean to you to be a part of a team, such as the Blue Bulls?
It's honestly a dream come true to be associated with a union/company that has such a rich and successful history. The values and morals the senior players, coaches and management instil in the players is of the highest standards. People at the Bulls strive for excellence and that's the type of people or company you want to be associated with.
What kind of diet do you adopt as a professional sportsman?
I try and eat a more protein based diet and try to limit my carb intake as it's important to be constant in terms of weight for rugby.
People at the Bulls strive for excellence and that's the type of people or company you want to be associated with.
- Sidney Tobias.
Who is your favourite sports hero?
Obviously I'm extremely blessed to have my dad, Errol Tobias, as my mentor and sports hero but being able to learn from Bismarck Du Plessis has been a dream come true as he's always been my rugby hero in terms of him also playing Hooker.
What is one of the main reasons you like being part of a team sport?
That in team sports everyone plays their part, it doesn't matter if your big or small, if you the person getting the playing kit ready or you're the head coach, no input can be looked down on or underestimated as without the one the other can't function. It also means that as individuals we have to hold ourselves accountable to always strive to be at our very best.
How do you and your teammates make practice fun, at the Blue Bulls?
There is obviously always the banter you get from team mates, we poke fun at each other for silly things , and sometimes it's necessary to take your mind away from the game as there is always pressure to perform in professional sports.
Who do you wish was watching you perform at every game or match?
I love it when my daughter Bella-Rose is at my games as see screams her heart out and I can make her proud. I lost my mother 2 years ago and would've loved her to be able to see me now as I know she would've been extremely proud of me.
What is your favourite song to listen to prior to competing?
Sky full of stars by Coldplay.
How does being an athlete make you a better person?
It makes you more disciplined in your everyday tasks. It teaches you that sometimes just like in life you'll win and you'll lose and most importantly that life is unfair so it's better to make peace with whatever happens to you quickly and move on.
What is the one thing you always do after a good performance?
Honestly just spending time with my family. Switching off mentally after the jobs been done and spending good quality time with my wife Callan and daughter Bella-Rose.
"Being a dad is the biggest blessing and made me want not only want to do better for myself but more importantly for my family."
- Sidney Tobias
What inspires you to give your best every single day?
It's simple. Being a dad is the biggest blessing and made me want not only want to do better for myself but more importantly for my family. Being able to provide a good life for my family is all the motivation I need, we tend as human beings always to look for inspiration from celebrities or far places when all the inspiration we need is right here in front of us.
We all have our own struggles. What kind of struggles have you overcome in the past?
The wonderful thing about struggles is they form and shape us, we need to go through tough times as I believe that is where our character is formed. I wouldn't change all the struggles or bad times in my life as without them I wouldn't be the person I am today. I've realised life is tough and it's meant for living whether that be good or bad times, we just need to keep on keeping on.
What does it mean to you to a role model to so many?
For me personally I take it very serious as I would love to inspire the younger generation in showing that anything is possible if you roll up your sleeves and work to make your dreams a reality. There is no substitute for hard work and hard work always gets rewarded it might not be on your time but it will certainly be on God's time. My daily prayer is for God to give me peace in my heart that I may except His will for my life on a daily basis.
Lastly, your most important title is that of “Dad”. What do you wish for your daughter as she grows up?
I want my daughter to be happy, blessed and to know that see is deeply loved and that anything is possible if see puts in the work to be successful.
Follow Sidney’s journey: https://www.instagram.com/sidneytobias2/