FNB Wits narrowly lost to the FNB Shimlas(25-26) on Monday evening in Bloemfontein during the third round of the 2023 FNB Varsity Cup.
It was the first loss of this year’s competition for the Witsies, with the loss keeping them in the second spot on the log standings.
The Johannesburg team have been without one of their seasoned forwards, Jason Cloete.
The prop suffered an ACL injury in a warm-up game that has seen him sidelined for several weeks.
He has been part of the Wits rugby set-up since leaving King Edward VII School in 2018, playing for the Young Guns before getting the call-up to the Varsity Cup squad in 2020, where he has made himself a regular member of the team.
Varsity Cup caught up with Cloete to get a feel of what goes on behind the scenes when a player is injured during a Varsity Cup season.
What motivated you to start playing rugby?
I think I just always wanted to play, my school didn’t have rugby until grade 4 so it was just a long time coming and when I got to play it, I loved it.
What’s it been like being side-lined because of the injury?
Being side-lined isn’t the nicest thing in the world. I think the worst part is probably just not being able to do much in terms of helping the team on the field, but they have put on a show so far. I’ve still been attending the training like usual, I just get my program. On match day I just help wherever I can. We’ve only had one game at home so far, so not too much of that just yet.
How have you managed to keep mentally strong through your injury?
I understand it’s part of the game and these things happen. Not that it’s easy, I just know it’s kind of what I signed up for, so I do my time in rehab and recover properly, then look to get back on the pitch stronger.
What advice would you give to young players looking to play Varsity Cup?
Firstly, study hard gentlemen, because you can’t play if you don’t pass your modules. Then I’d have to say work hard on and off the pitch to be as fit as you can be. It’s a fast game and even these big lads you see out there are, moving kind of fast nowadays.