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'FNB NWU Eagles can beat any team'

FNB Varsity Cup

FNB NWU Eagles loose forward André Fouché has made a brilliant start to the 2022 FNB Varsity Cup, earning two FNB Player That Rocks accolades. asked him …

We're halfway through the league stage and FNB NWU are seventh on the log with three wins and two defeats. How do you feel about the campaign so far? The bounce of the ball played a part, especially in our games against UCT and UJ [which the Eagles lost]. After that, we just tried to improve our game, which we did and we got positive results against UWC, Tuks and Shimlas. Our forwards are giving us a good platform and our counter-attacks are looking quite good. We have a good chemistry in the team.

Who are the toughest opponents you’ve faced so far? The most physical game was against UWC and the toughest against UJ, because of the weather. It was raining in Johannesburg and the field didn’t drain well at all, so when we got to UJ Stadium everyone thought the game was probably going to be played the following morning. Referee Aimee Barrett-Theron wasn’t convinced the game was going to be played. I think the whole build-up to the game made us lose focus. We actually started well but the wheels just fell off in the second half when we conceded two seven-point tries, which were converted. That really sunk us.

What was FNB NWU’s best performance so far? Definitely against Tuks [the Eagles won 17-8]. Our game plan went really well against them and the crowd played a major role because the atmosphere was electrifying.

What’s the biggest lesson the Eagles have learned so far? We’ve learned not to think of a team as ‘lesser’ than us because all the teams are competitive. We’ve also learned that we can beat any team. We play with confidence now. We take every game as it comes and leave previous games behind.

You’ve got a tough fixture coming up, against FNB Maties in Stellenbosch on Monday. How has the team prepared for it? The team is coming together well and the mood in the team is really good. We love playing at the Danie Craven Stadium because it’s always a physical encounter against Maties. It’s a big one. We want to win and make it one to remember.

How does it feel to have twice been named as the FNB Player That Rocks this season? I feel really good about it, but without the team I obviously wouldn’t be able to achieve that. I also don’t let these kinds of things get to my head because I know there’s still a long way to go and team achievements matter more than personal accolades. I didn’t play with my pink shorts because I just want to help the team stand out and win.

Who inspired you to become a rugby player? At school, I had a coach, Mr Grobler, who taught me a lot of things, not just about rugby but life in general. I took a lot of inspiration from him and he made me a better human being. Marcell Coetzee also inspired me to play rugby. When I was at school I always looked up to him. I’m a huge Sharks fan and he was playing for them at the time. I always watched his games and how hard he ran. He now plays for the Bulls but I still love him, as a human being and as a professional rugby player.

Interview by Lesiba Dikhoba

Photo: Hannes Naude/ASEM Engage

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