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FNB DUT Rhinos stand together after tragedy strikes

The FNB DUT Rhinos have stood in solidarity with blindside flank and vice-captain Lwazi Bhengu after a fire destroyed his family home.

The Rhinos are currently experiencing a baptism by fire in their first FNB Varsity Shield campaign. Further impacting the team was the news that the home of Bhengu's grandmother – the matriarch of the family – had been destroyed in a fire during the recent school holidays. It was situated in Ngwelezane, a village in Empangeni.

The family not only had to deal with the loss of the home but the loss of their grandmother, who passed away due to smoke inhalation, while Bhengu's siblings were hospitalised in a critical condition.

Fortunately, the medical team has indicated that they are now stabilised and should make a full recovery.

Bhengu, who attended Eshowe High School and represented the College Rovers U20 team last year, is as passionate about rugby as they come. He was part of the first FNB Varsity Shield bubble before being released on compassionate leave to attend to his grieving family.

Rugby is and always will be more than just a sport; it's a way of life that holds its players to the highest moral standard, emphasising values such as integrity, compassion, respect and dedication while valuing human connection.

When tragedy strikes a player, it's the broader rugby community that immediately swings into assistance, helping to shoulder the weight of it all.

"Lwazi is a fantastic young man, full of life and so eager to make a success of his rugby journey, while passionately doing everything he can to improve our structures at DUT," director of rugby Matthew Russell tells "As one of our core leaders, he is committed to bringing out the best in our players and himself.

"Despite relying on him as a player and leader, we value family and knew that we would have to make do without him [during the second Shield bubble] as he supports his family," adds Russell. "He has our full backing, as does the Bhengu family at large."

Bhengu has already completed his BTech in Business Administration and BTech in Management. He is currently in the process of obtaining his honours in the latter and the Durban University of Technology is doing everything it can to support him.

"We are in constant communication with him as management, and his teammates are taking turns each day to check in on him," explains Russell.

"Once he's back at varsity, we will ensure he has access to any counselling he may need, while helping him to catch up on his studying. His mental health is of paramount importance to us."

– FNB Varsity Cup extends its deepest condolences to Lwazi Bhengu and his family during this difficult time.




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