Swys de Bruin has explained that the scheduling of the Lions’ match against the Chiefs on Good Friday was one of the reasons he left the team’s tour of Australasia early.
The Lions coach flew back to South Africa on the eve of the fixture against the Chiefs in Hamilton, which they went on to win 23-17 last month, citing personal reasons for his departure.
It was later confirmed by the Lions that De Bruin had experienced a stress-related illness in New Zealand, and returned on recommendation from the team’s medical staff and his wife Marilize.
In a candid interview with You magazine, De Bruin has now revealed that the conviction of Lions assistant coach Joey Mongalo, who was found guilty of indecent assault in Australia, coupled with the fact that his team had to play a game on Good Friday, were the two of the chief events that sparked the mental breakdown during which he felt as if he ‘was saying goodbye to the world’.
‘The Lions are a Christian team and I found it incredibly difficult to play on Good Friday. Many of our supporters criticised us for that too. I felt I should’ve taken a stand, but I didn’t,’ De Bruin told You.
He revealed that he broke out in a cold sweat, so much so that the sheets of his hotel bed were drenched.
‘I started getting a hollow feeling in my stomach and thought “today I’m saying goodbye to the world”. I called my wife and told her I felt as if I were drowning, but didn’t know why. She said I should come home immediately.’
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