Wasps Senior Academy player Will Wilson helped Griquas beat Pumas 28-13 in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge Final at Saldanha Bay in South Africa on Sunday.
The 22-year-old has spent the last month with the Kimberley-based side, playing in Griquas’ last four games of their SuperSport Rugby Challenge campaign and started the final at number-eight.
Pumas were unbeaten in 19 consecutive SuperSport Challenge matches before the final and Griquas had lost the two previous deciders against the same opposition.
But on Sunday, Wilson helped play his part as Griquas managed to turn around their recent record to win their first title.
Wilson said: “Winning the title was a brilliant experience. For the guys who have been at the club a long time, it was great to finally win a trophy after several near-misses in recent years.
“Personally, it was awesome for me. I've had a tough year on and off the field, so it was doubly sweet to taste some success at last!”
Wilson, who has been over in South Africa since the start of June, insists he is enjoying every moment in the Southern Hemisphere, where he has been faced with some different challenges.
He explained: “I'm loving my time in South Africa so far. It's a huge challenge and a total breakaway from my life in England, with a language barrier I didn't expect as well.
“Kimberley is a small town but the club are very much at the centre of it, which makes for a friendly environment. It's also the diamond centre of South Africa with lots of interesting history that I studied at university, which is a nice bonus!
“To be honest, being here has been much more about rediscovering confidence and getting pitch-time than actually learning new rugby skills. I definitely feel like my game has improved though.
“South African rugby is by nature very physical so I'm enjoying the challenges that poses, particularly in terms of picking my moments to steal ball at the breakdown and staying strong over the ball.
“I'm looking forward to transferring these skills when I get back to England and hopefully I’ll get the chance to play in the Premiership Rugby Shield for Wasps, and I’m aiming for higher honours this year.”
Off the back of Wilson’s strong performances in the SuperSport Challenge, the back-rower is set to feature in the Currie Cup next month.
Wilson continued: “The Currie Cup is a very prestigious competition and Griquas are a smaller union competing against some big South African clubs, so we'll have to give it all we've got.
“I'm really excited for the chance to play at some famous venues against some high-standard players, and hope that it will give me a greater indicator of where my rugby is at going forward into next season.”