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Nicholé Taljaard earned her first cap for South Africa when she took to the court in the final quarter of the first test against Wales on Tuesday (19 July).

The 25-year-old has built up an impressive CV over the years and especially in the last year started to bag one accolade after the other, among others the title of the best player at university level.

She already represented her country at the age of 17 when she was a member of the South African under-17 team in 2014 who won the Algarve international tournament in Portugal.

Taljaard made her Telkom Netball League debut before her 19th birthday and received a player of the match in one of her very first outings for the Southern Stings.

Teams represented:
SA u17
Southern Stings
Western Cape
SA Students
President’s XII
Cape Winelands

2018 Varsity Netball Player of the Tournament nominee
2021 Varsity Netball Player of the Tournament
2021 TNL Team of the Tournament (as selected by SuperSport’s commentators)
2021 USSA Team of the Tournament
2021 SPAR National Champs Shooter of the Tournament
2022 TNL Team of the Tournament (as selected by SuperSport’s commentators)

You have been part of training squads and is now part of something bigger, what does it feel like?
Coming into the group this year was amazing. It was hard work and everyone was pushing each other to be better and step up. I have always set small goals for myself regarding netball and my first was to make the squad and then the 15 man team. When I was announced as one of the 15 I was so shocked and excited. I knew this meant starting from the bottom and working even harder because all of the ladies selected with me are so amazing and I have looked up to them for so long. To be a part of this team is so amazing because it means I just feel like I have a lot to do and that there are so many people looking up to everyone in this team the way that I used to and still do. It’s an inspiration for anyone else who has the same goals as myself.

You earned your first cap against Wales – Congratulations
A dream come true and something I have been dreaming about for a long time. I haven’t stopped smiling since I heard I made the team and that I am traveling and just to get on the airplane with the team. [It’s been] special because the players around me have helped me grow so much and have been so supportive. Just the amount of love I received before stepping on court filled my heart and I could not have asked for a better first cap experience.

How much work goes into being a netball player at this level?
I can’t speak for the other players but I train at least twice every day and still have to work and study every day too. It’s a lot of work and you have to make a lot of sacrifices and you always need to be available for trainings and tournaments. You miss a lot of gatherings and have to prioritise family gatherings and spending time with people you love to keep you grounded and your heart happy.

A word of advice to those out there wanting to break out on the scene?
Put in the work. Play as many competitions as possible and take part in all of the events. If you are busy working and playing at all of the tournaments someone will notice you.