FNB Rhodes go into their fourth season of the FNB Varsity Shield with a new captain, who brings a serious touch of the ‘unique’ to the competition – which turns 10 this year.
if you’re interested to know which Varsity Shield player has the longest first name, then the answer is the Stallions’ new leader Sinolwazingekamvalakhe Ralo.
We’ll save you the effort – that’s 22 letters!
Of course, Ralo would much rather reflect on his additional role with the Grahamstown-based university (to go with that of anchoring their scrum from tighthead prop) rather than worrying about being a quiz question.
“Taking over the shoes from Joshua Parsons is a very big role for me to play considering the fact that I still have to look after my game,” the 20-year-old tells varsitycup.co.za ahead of Friday night’s season-opener at home against FNB TUT.
For Rhodes, the 2020 season marks an opportunity to catch the eye. They won their first game on the field of play last year (beating FNB UFH 13-12 in Round 4) and, apart from wanting to at least match that, they are looking to be entertainers this time around.
FOR MORE ON RALO: https://www.varsitycup.co.za/news/or-sino-ralo
“We’ll be playing a very expansive brand of rugby… entertaining rugby as always, and the running rugby that we’re known for. We’re not a big side [physically], so we’ll try and spread the ball wide,” Ralo reveals.
“When we have to, we’ll keep it tight, because we have quite a few big lads,” Ralo adds, with a wry smile on his face.
The irony, of course, is that ‘lads’ don’t come much bigger than the BCom Accounting fourth year student. Not only is Ralo 1.97m tall, but his recorded weight for this season is 145kg! As it happens, that’s still a kilogramme shy of TUT’s own tighthead prop Jakobus ‘Kowie’ Roos… so there should be little love lost come scrum time on Valentine’s Day!
As such, Ralo is keen for as many fellow ‘Rhodents’ as possible to see what unfolds on the Great Field come 19:00 on Friday.
“It’s ‘Friday Night Lights’, so I encourage people to come and support because it wouldn’t be the same without them…”