FNB UP-Tuks’ Varsity Cup fullback Kyle Cyster proves that dynamite comes in small packages.
Cyster is 1.73 metres tall and weighs 71 kilograms. It means he is one of the smallest players in the FNB Varsity Cup. But what he lacks in stature, he makes up with guts and skills. Once he has the ball in hand, Cyster is hard to stop.
When asked to explain his fleet-footed dodging tackle skills, Cyster laughs.
"As a youngster, I was a naughty little oke. It was my mom who had to bear the brunt of my antics. Ever so often, her frustration boiled over, and then she would chase after me. That is how I got to hone my dodging skills.”
According to Cyster, he started playing rugby relatively late because he could only play football at primary school. Playing in the midfield, he scored numerous goals.
"In the afternoons, my friends and I would often play 'touchies' in the streets of the Strand where I grew up. I only started playing rugby in Grade8 at the Hottentots-Holland High School. At first, I was no good. I mostly played for the B or C teams. Only in matric did I start to make my presence felt on the field. I ended up being the player of the year at school."
He started out playing wing, but because he got frustrated about not getting the ball often enough, he switched to playing fullback. In 2019 Cyster and a few friends decided to go to Gqeberha.
Apart from playing for the Madibaz, he also played for Eastern Province's under-20 team. Cyster credit his dad, Edward Gelant, as having had the most significant impact on his rugby career.
"My dad was himself a good player. When it comes to rugby, my dad was a perfectionist. It meant that he kept pushing me to be better. For that, I will always be grateful.
"My dad has passed on, but he is still my biggest motivation. Ever so often, I would still think about what he would have said if he had seen me play. I am playing to honour the memory of my dad. I want him to be proud."