FNB UP-Tuks No 10: Water polo made me a better rugby player

FNB Varsity Cup

FNB UP-Tuks flyhalf David Coetzer says playing water polo at school benefited his rugby.

Coetzer attended Selborne College in East London where he excelled on the rugby field and in the swimming pool.

He played A-team water polo at school until U16 level before deciding to focus on rugby. He then played second-team water polo and first-team rugby.

"Playing water polo helped me to be a better rugby player," he says. "It is a demanding sport, especially when it comes to conditioning and fitness. Not only do you swim up and down, but you are also continuously wrestling for the ball. Water polo requires a high level of hand-eye coordination skills.

"Water polo also helped me with my rugby skill-sets like passing and offloading, and my physicality."

Coetzer played for the Junior Springboks at the World Rugby U20 Championship in 2018 and was part of the Bulls team that won last year's SA Rugby U21 Championship.

The 22-year-old will now spearhead FNB UP-Tuks' 2021 FNB Varsity Cup title challenge, with VarsityCup.co.za having selected him as one of its 10 players to watch this year.

Coetzer says being a 10 is like being the captain of a ship.

"The flyhalf is the player who must take control – the one who steers the team towards the tryline to score points. When I succeed, it creates confidence [in the team]. Players feel comfortable when they know what is happening on the field.

"The most important thing playing flyhalf is to know when to run with the ball and when to kick," he adds. "The aim is always the same – identify the space and then plan to play into space."

FNB UP-Tuks will kick off their 2021 campaign against FNB Wits at Tuks Stadium on Sunday (19:00). The match will be broadcast live on the SuperSport Rugby channel (211).

– This is an edited version of a TuksSports article