FNB CPUT have played a sexy, entertaining brand of rugby in this year’s FNB Varsity Shield. They have stepped, swerved and no-look-passed their way into the final and are now one victory away from creating history.
Even though they play with flair and guile, it is very clear that they are a well-drilled and fit unit. Their coach, Ricky Petersen, has said from the outset that his team will be the smallest, yet the fittest team in the competition. Petersen and his management team, consisting of Rito Hlungwani (assistant coach), Salieg Jacobs (strength and conditioning) and Melissa Martin (physiotherapist), need to be lauded for the environment they have created within this squad.
They may be a smallish forward pack but men such as Keadon Consul (hooker), Ameer Hendricks (lock), Butsa Mputa and Colin April (loose forwards) have punched above their weight to ensure that the halfback pairing of George-Lee Erasmus and Ralton October could get the likes of Jurick Lewis, Lunathi Nxele (centre), Asisipho Malotana (wing) and fullback Randy “Mr Holiday” Brinkhuis away on their outside.
The 23-year-old Brinkhuis has been devasting from the back and has rightfully been nominated as the FNB Varsity Shield Player that Rocks. The diminutive Brinkhuis has been influential and has been the recipient of two pairs of pink shorts and one Steers Kinging Moment award thus far. Scoring four tries, as well as making a number of conversions and one of the competition’s only drop kicks – Brinkhuis has been a vital contributor to his team’s success.
“Varsity Shield 2019 has definitely been the highlight of my varsity and rugby career. I've played the best rugby of my life this year and I have to give credit to our team of 2019 – they have made everything possible. We have an unshakeable bond and to be honest this has definitely been the best team I’ve played for when it comes to teamwork and the bond that’s been created,” the accounting student told varsitycup.co.za in an interview earlier this week.
Brinkhuis, who hails from the small Helderberg village called Sir Lowry’s pass, says he’s been playing rugby since he attended Somerset Methodist Primary School. He then moved to Hottentots - Holland High School before he was recruited by the Sharks to attend their rugby academy in 2014.
“My rugby journey has had its fair share of ups and downs thus far. When I attended the Sharks Academy in 2014 and 2015 I was unable to perform at my peak because I was injured. I then returned to Cape Town and played club rugby for Helderberg RFC and got an opportunity to play in the Western Province Super League A for Tygerberg the following year and this is where my rugby excelled,” according to the player affectionately known as Mr Holiday.
When asked about the name he said: “Mr Holiday comes from a dance video where the guy’s name is Mr Holiday and apparently he dances like me and the way I am and my personality probably does the name justice,” he quipped.
If Brinkhuis has his way, FNB CPUT will cause an upset against the more fancied FNB Madibaz in Port Elizabeth and walk away with the FNB Varsity Shield title. “We can win Varsity Shield because of the strong bond we have as a team, the trust we have in one another and the great coaching staff we have. Our coaching staff have been exceptional throughout this entire competition and they have brought the best out of us from day one. We started off with a goal and today we are preparing for the final. All the preparation and hard work have paid off and we have grown stronger as a team, a family as well as a university,” Mr Holiday concluded.