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FORMER Griquas captain Jonathan Mokuena has declined overseas offers to playfor the Lions.
The Cape Town-based Mokuena, 28, who spent the past two years with the Eastern Cape outfit as No 8, says the sky is the limit at Doornfontein.
Sowetan hooked up with the former Boks Sevens skipper yesterday after the Lions' first training session at Johannesburg Stadium.
Q: What has been the highlight of your career?
A: Leading the Griquas to lift the 2009 Vodacom Cup trophy and representing the Royal XV (invitational team) in their international encounter against the British and Irish Lions in Rustenburg on May 30.
Last, winning the man of the match award in the same game.
Q: Did you expect to win this season's Vodacom Cup player of the year award?
A: Honestly, not. I think I did not have a good season in the Vodacom Cup. Instead, I had an excellent Absa Currie Cup season.
Q: What are your future goals - both short term and long term?
A: Obviously, I think anyone's aspiration is always to play for the Springboks. My first goal is to find my feet at my new team, the Lions, and help them win some silverware.
Q: Have your game and career benefited much from the Bok Sevens?
A: Yes. What the Boks Sevens taught me is that you must always work hard and never give up.
Q: Who has been the biggest influence in your rugby career?
A: My mom, dad and granny. Griquas coach Dawie Theron, Boks Sevens coach Paul Treu and former Leopards coach Jacques Swanepoel have also been inspirational in my career.
Q: Looking forward to the 2010 Vodacom Super 14?
A: Yes, I think it is going to be a great challenge to play for one of the biggest rugby unions in the country.
Q: Joining a team of the Lions' calibre, was it the only option you had in mind to better your career?
A: Well, I had good offers from overseas - Italy and Japan. But you know sometimes it is good to build your career at home first before considering offers from outside.
Joining the Lions camp was actually a wise move because I don't think the team can do any worse than the past season. They can only go up from here.
Q: Where were you born?
A: Cape Flats in Cape Town.
Q: Are you married?
A: Not married.
Q: What do you do for a living apart from being a professional rugby player?
A: I am involved in a transport company, though it is not doing well at the moment.
Q: What is your dream car?
A: My dream car is a BMW 1-Series, which I am currently driving.
Q: Who is the person you admire?
A: Former SA president Nelson Mandela and US president Barack Obama.
Q: Do you think the rugby unions are doing enough to transform the sport?
A: No. If ever black players get a chance of being signed, they are made to play in the same position and that's not what transformation is all about.
Q: What is your advice to up-and-coming rugby players?
A: Tough times never last, tough people do.
Youngsters must work very hard and never give up in life.
Q: Who is your favourite local player?
A: Sarel Pretorius from the Cheetahs.
Q: Most difficult team in the Absa Currie Cup in the past season?
A: The Lions.