Baby Blues skipper’s Bok dream takes shape as UFH look to semis

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With a call-up to the Springbok women’s training camp and a spot in this year’s women’s Varsity Cup semi-finals, Fort Hare captain Sivuyiseko Makhomazi is loving the rugby life.

 

It is no secret that the No 6 jersey holds a special place in the annals of Springbok rugby.

Those iconic images of Francois Pienaar holding the William Webb Ellis trophy aloft alongside the late Nelson Mandela in 1995 and Siya Kolisi celebrating the World Cup wins of 2019 and 2023 are etched in the minds of every South African.

That Fort Hare women’s rugby captain Sivuyiseko Makhomazi wears the same number seems more than a little coincidental considering she is now very much part of the national selectors’ thinking.

Earlier this year she was invited to attend her first Springbok training camp in Cape Town and, while she was not selected for the team’s recent tour of the UK, she clearly is in the reckoning to wear the green-and-gold.

Unsurprisingly, this experience has boosted her confidence as a player – much to UJ’s detriment as she inspired her team to a dramatic 19-17 victory over last year’s finalists in the women’s FNB Varsity Cup last week.

That victory has now put her team into the semifinals of the Cup with a game to spare.

With UWC also seeing off the Joburg outfit, the Capetonians and UFH have ended first and second in Pool B to book their respective places in the playoffs.

As an example of Makhomazi’s rugby brain, she noticed that her young team were struggling to negotiate UJ’s fast-paced passing. She immediately urged them to slow the game down and let their “physicality speak” for them.

The change was instant, allowing them to rally and clinch the nail-biter.

The 25-year-old, who is pursuing her postgraduate studies in human rights law, is enjoying captaining an even younger team than the one she did during her first year at the helm.

Her “young guns”, as she calls them, are quick to listen to advice and put what they have learnt into practice.

She said she wanted to lead others the way she wanted to be led.

“I do everything that I want to receive in terms of discipline, work rate and communication. I believe that’s my best asset as captain.”

It almost goes without saying that the player, who hails from the town of Dutywa, has represented Border at various age-group levels. Last year, she was handed the captain’s armband for the senior provincial side.

Being invited to the Bok camp was an incredibly exciting moment in her career, she said, as it confirmed her status as one of the country’s best players.

“Our coach (former Springbok flyhalf Louis Koen) and his team were very supportive. They recognised that you were new in the set-up and welcomed you. The experience was great,” she said.

“I now know what I have to do to get to this level.”

The Baby Blues play their final pool game against UWC in Cape Town on Friday and, while it is a bit of a dead rubber with both teams having qualified for the semis, they will still want to top their group.

“The ladies all know what they need to do,” she said ahead of their departure to the Mother City on Thursday.

 

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