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From Varsity Cup to Commonwealth Gold – Shaun Williams tells his story

Updated: Apr 5

Former FNB UJ player Shaun Williams has certainly made a name for himself since competing in the FNB Varsity Cup for the Orange Army. He currently represents the Blitzboks and was part of the squad that brought home the gold medal from the 2022 Commonwealth Games.  

 

Varsity Cup spent some time with Williams.  

 


During your time in the Varsity Cup, you played fifteens and sevens. How did that help your overall performance?  

  

“As a sevens player, you tend to work harder. Being in the UJ set-up it was tough, fitness and condition-wise with coach Stefan van Deventer who is currently with the Lions. It helped me going into fifteens to be well conditioned and be sharp on the field.”  

 

You received a call-up for the SA 7s Academy in 2020. How did the Varsity Cup’s competitiveness prepare you for that?   

 

“2020 was my year with UJ. So I told myself to go out and enjoy rugby because I don’t know how many more games I will have for the rest of the year. Unfortunately, Covid happened as I was enjoying my rugby and during that time I got a call from Juan Schoeman and I am glad I answered.”  

 


As a 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, when you look back on your time playing in the Varsity Cup, did you ever think that this would be your reality?  

 

“Not. I had an interview at the UJ and Wits derby in 2020. The guy asked if I see myself in Tokyo 2020 and I said to him ‘Not really, I first need to have my goals set up’ and he said ‘You’ll never know where you will end up.’ So looking back to that Commonwealth squad that was a highlight in my career.” 

 

Fifteen caps as a Blitzbok, what else do you look forward to?  

 

“To take it week by week, tournament by tournament. And creating momentum … to hopefully qualify for the Olympics.”  

 

 

by Karabo Peter 

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