When professional rugby player Duran Krummeck discovered he was going to be a dad, his whole world turned upside down. He tells us a bit about his rugby career, his drive-through coffee shop and the little girl that made him the happiest man on earth.
Since he was five years old, Duran’s biggest dream was always to become a professional rugby player. On his journey towards living that dream (having been a member of the national Irish sevens rugby team and now training with the Sharks Currie Cup squad), Duran has discovered a few other things that make his heart soar. His wife Tayla and seven-month-old baby girl, Reese, are at the top of the list.
He is also, as it turns out, an ardent coffee-lover. He opened an awesome drive-through coffee shop in Umhlanga, called Rise Coffee, towards the end of last year, and through that, has discovered a way to connect with people, uplift those less fortunate than him and share his passion for his faith.
Born in Durban, the 26-year-old Northwood old boy moved to the UK with his family when he was five years old. It was there, he says, that he fell in love with rugby.
After returning to SA, and Umhlanga, a few years later, Duran shone both on the rugby field and the cricket pitch at primary school and high school level. Towards the end of high school, he had to make a decision about which sport to pursue. He chose rugby. “My biggest dream has always been to play for the Sharks,” he says.
With a scholarship from Varsity College and a spot on the Sharks u/19 team, Duran’s rugby career started to take off. Not long afterwards, he was offered an opportunity to play rugby in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
“It was an incredible experience and I learnt a lot about myself while I was there. I discovered what was important to me and grew very close to God.” He returned home seven months later and decided to move his focus away from rugby for a while.
He went into real estate and, within just a few months of working for Harcourts Umhlanga, earned the ‘Rookie of the Year’ award. But rugby kept calling him back.
In 2019 Duran’s life changed once again when he was invited to try out for the Irish national sevens rugby team, with the view of playing in the Olympics. Duran spent the next few years playing for Ireland. “I was travelling the world, playing rugby and loving every minute of it,” he says. “Sevens rugby suited my game and gave me the confidence I needed to shine on the field.”
Just before Duran went to Ireland in 2019, he met Tayla. They decided to give a long-distance relationship a try, and fell deeply in love. Duran proposed in November 2020 with a plan for them both to move to Ireland the next year so he could pursue his rugby career there. “But then Tayla fell pregnant and everything changed,” he says with a smile.
The couple were married in March 2021 and little baby Reese was born in October. After completing his contract with the Irish sevens team, Duran returned home in July, just a few months before her birth.
“I thought long and hard about moving to Ireland, but when Reese was born that all changed. I realised how selfish it would be to take my wife and our beautiful new baby girl away from her grandparents and our extended family. We needed our support system around us.”
Now training with the Sharks Currie Cup squad and playing for Rovers’ Rugby Club, Duran says his dream remains to run on the field representing the Sharks. He trains with the Sharks almost every day of the week and with his club in the evenings. “I’m playing a lot of rugby right now and I’m loving it. Moving my focus and goal towards making it in rugby in South Africa was the best decision I could have made for my family.”
It was while living in Dublin, Duran says, that he first saw the concept of drive-through coffee. “They always had at least six cars lined up. I thought it was such a great concept.”
He completed a barista course while there and says he fell in love with the science of coffee. Now, together with his fellow barista, Vincent Majola, Duran serves up carefully-measured cups of delicious Bluebird coffee at Rise, while at the same time sharing their knowledge by upskilling future baristas living in nearby townships.
“Coffee is not just a drink. There is a magic and a science to it. It also has an incredible way of bringing people together. Our slogan is ‘rise up above it all’ and we are trying to support our community in as many ways as possible.”
Duran hopes to grow the Rise brand and eventually open more branches around South Africa. For now, though, he is focusing on rugby and being a dad. “This has been the best seven months of my life. People often ask how we are sleeping, but honestly, when I look at her I know I would wake up a hundred times a night and it would be worth it. Having a daughter is the best thing in the world.”
Photographs: Stories By Goya
Styled by: Ty Gormley, I’m Styling