The start of a brand new chapter is how Denzel Hill (FNB Tuks captain) views the team’s first FNB Varsity Cup encounter against Kovsies on 29 January at Tuks.
FNB Tuks are the defending Varsity Cup champions. Hill is adamant that he and his teammates won't fall into the trap of reminiscing about what happened last year.
"To be honest, we are not concerned about the past and what teams think about us. The last chapter has been written, and we have closed that book. I will admit we have taken a lot of confidence from what happened last year, but now we are at the start of the new book which I hope is going to be equally as exciting."
Hill rates FNB Shimlas as a "tough nut" to crack.
"The biggest mistake we can make is to underestimate them. Shimlas are very good with the ball in hand and have mastered the art of exploiting the opposition's weaknesses by taking the ball wide. However we are not going to be obsessed with what Shimlas do or don't. We are going to stick to a gameplan that suits us. It will entail trying to keep the ball in play for as long as it is possible."
Captaining teams is nothing new to Hill. He captained the Blue Bulls under-21 team last and quite a few other teams throughout his playing career. He admits being the leader comes with responsibilities.
"I won't describe myself as a natural leader. It is something I've got to work on continuously. I try and lead by example, but there is more to captaining than just putting your body on the line. I also believe in encouraging the guys around me and try and put them in the best position to play the game they are comfortable with and want to play."
When asked Hill said that there is a right balance of experience and debutants in the FNB Tuks team.
Hill could just be one of the fastest loose forwards in the Varsity Cup tournament. At Jeppe High School he used to be a sprinter. He is not sure as to what exactly his best time in the 100m was, but guesses it could have been around 11.1s which is indeed not shabby for someone who 1.91m tall and weighs 101kg. He is quite frank about why he plays rugby.
"I will be honest. I really love playing rugby. My most significant motivation is to make my family proud. Rugby is also a way for me to support and make a difference for my family."
Hill finished his BCom Marketing degree last year. Currently, he is doing a postgraduate diploma in entrepreneurship.