The 2019 FNB Varsity Shield final will forever be remembered as the day FNB CPUT stole the cup from FNB Madibaz.
The Tekkies, as the Capetonians are also known, were bulldozed by the Madibaz in the first half in Port Elizabeth and the home side dominated the game for the first three quarters. They bullied their less fancied opponents up front and took a healthy lead of 17-3 into the half-time break.
The visitors gradually found their mojo in the second half and started eating into the home team’s lead. The game’s decisive moment came in the 79th minute with the (very tired) Madibaz leading 28-25. George Lee Erasmus, the FNB CPUT scrumhalf picked up the ball at a ruck on the Madibaz’ 22m line, sniped around the fringe and ran in to send his teammates and the few hundred traveling fans into a frenzy.
We at varsitycup.co.za spoke to the 24-year-old Sports Management student earlier this week about that try and his rugby career.
“That try in the final, I don’t know, that was just something else,” he said ahead of CPUT's visit to FNB UKZN on Friday.
“We went into that game with a plan of playing a high risk, quick tempo game. We knew we were fitter than them and that their big forwards would tire late in the game. I saw that their forwards were slow to get to the breakdown and their pillars weren’t in place and took the gap. But credit to the team, I can’t take the credit because without them I wouldn’t have been able to score the try."
Erasmus' journey thus far has been an interesting one as he represented both Western Province and the Bulls at schoolboy level.
“My dad George [senior] was involved with Kylemore Rugby Club, first as a player and then as an administrator and I would always tag along to the field. There I would be a ball boy and carry the kicking tee onto the field. All I wanted to do back then was play first team for Kylemore.”
He was schooled at PC Petersen in his hometown of Kylemore (Herschel Jantjies also hails from the same community on the road between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek) before going to Eikestad Primary. He then attended Paul Roos Gymnasium before he was lured to Centurion and eventually finished his schooling at Garsfontein. He was contracted by the the Lions and then joined NWU in Potchefstroom.
He returned to Cape Town in 2018 and went to CPUT before making his debut for the Tekkies in 2019.
“The journey with CPUT has been an enjoyable one thus far. It hasn’t always been easy but we are a close knit team, a family. We play for each other and that’s what’s gotten us thus far,” he said.
When asked who his favourite player is, he said without hesitation: “Joost van der Westhuizen, the legendary scrumhalf. He changed the way nines play and he’s also one of the scrumhalves who scored the most tries so he’s definitely my hero,” Erasmus concluded.
PLAYER PROFILE George Erasmus
Full name: George Lee Matthew Erasmus
Born: 3/3/1995 in Stellenbosch
Studying: Sports Management (3rd Year)