FNB UCT Ikeys hooker excited to study and play rugby in Scotland

FNB Varsity Cup

Hooker Josh van Vuuren is one of four FNB UCT Ikeys players to have been awarded a rugby scholarship at the University of St Andrews.

The Scottish institution is looking to recruit four or five South Africans every year to boost their rugby programme until it becomes self-sustaining. In return, the players will receive a quality education.

Van Vuuren, Ikey Tigers captain and flank Liam Greenhalgh, lock Byron Bowes and hooker Devon Arendse will all pursue masters degrees at St Andrews.

Van Vuuren has an undergraduate degree in civil engineering and an honours degree in finance. He worked full-time at an asset management company while doing his honours degree and has continued to work during the FNB Varsity Cup.

The 23-year-old has clearly mastered time management, although he admits it's been "tough" while in the bubble.

"When I’m at home, I work during the day, go to rugby, and then come back and do varsity work," Van Vuuren tells VarsityCup.co.za. "I also do a lot of varsity work on weekends. But in the bubble, we do a lot of rugby stuff in the evenings."

Van Vuuren began his Masters in Finance at UCT this year in case his application at the University of St Andrews fell through (players are only awarded the rugby scholarship once their academic admission has been accepted by the university). However, he will now start his Masters in Management and Finance in Scotland in September.

Van Vuuren is excited to see what the university has to offer.

“I’ve always wanted to study overseas, so when this opportunity arose, I wanted to take it," he says. "Obviously getting a scholarship is huge because international rates are quite substantial.” 

The opportunity to play rugby while obtaining an internationally recognised qualification is ideal for the hooker.

“I’ve never wanted to be a professional rugby player, I just enjoy the social side of rugby," he says. "I really want to win, but I also want to have a good time." 

'Wagon', as he’s known by his Ikey Tigers teammates, is playing in his fourth FNB Varsity Cup tournament, so the experience he will bring to St Andrews will be invaluable.

"I hope to add value and form part of a winning culture," he says.

While it’s difficult to compete with packed FNB Varsity Cup venues like the Green Mile and the Danie Craven Stadium, St Andrews and the University of Edinburgh face off at Murrayfield once a year, which will undoubtedly be a pinch-me moment for Van Vuuren and his fellow South Africans.

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Main photo: Christiaan Kotze/Varsity Cup