The Coronavirus-enforced suspension of the 2020 FNB Varsity Cup season has hundreds of players sitting idle, something FNB Wits’ Travis Gordon is not good at.
Gordon has a few reasons to lament being put on ice. At the time of the suspension of the season, the Wits backrower was injured, but fast-tracking his return. More than that, the Witsies’ form had them semifinals-bound and the 21-year-old's two tournament tries and FNB Player That Rocks award against FNB NWU in Round 4 has been key to that.
A week later, at FNB UCT, Gordon picked up the injury which forced him to lay low… before the whole of South Africa was then forced to too.
“I had a small grade 1 tear in my hamstring when I picked the ball up from the back of the scrum,” Gordon revealed to varsitycup.co.za.
Following oxygen chamber treatment and other rehab, the Gordon was due to return for the crunch Round 8 fixture against top-of-the-table FNB Maties. Instead, he’s now left to reflect on his journey at Wits. Gordon is a Jo’burger through-and-through, having been born there and matriculating from the prestigious King Edward VII School (better known as KES) in 2017 – alongside four other current teammates. He was named SA Schools captain that same year (with Keagan Glade and Yanga Hlalu also in that squad), so could have had his pick of universities but has not regretted his decision to stay local.
“Wits has been super easy to settle into, with the likes of Kerry Yates [Wits Sport bursary-academic support officer] helping us out academically and Coach Hugo [van As] and his staff always trying to accommodate players with regards to class and training,” Gordon said.
“The direction when I joined Wits that the rugby club was heading was something that I wanted to be a part of and help grow. The team environment this year at Wits has been exceptional and it is allowing us as players to perform at our best.”
The evidence of Gordon’s sentiments are evident on the field, with the men in blue being unbeaten (as Maties are) including a first-ever Varsity Cup derby victory over FNB UJ.
The success has him harking back…
“The vibe at the first home game reminded me of the huge school derby matches. The crowd was electric and as players we fed off their energy. Playing in front of a full home grand stand inspires us to make sure the crowd gets their money’s worth.”
Gordon doesn’t just talk a good game but he epitomises the values of Varsity Cup, in that his goals are ambitious… and not just rugby-focussed.
“I am looking to graduate at Wits with a BCom in Insurance and Risk Management as well as Management [he is in his third year] – hopefully also going onto doing my Post Grad or Masters in it. With rugby I would like to captain an international side as my main goal. Off the field I would love to be able to put 1000 children through school as my long-term goal.”
Gordon’s leadership qualities are also evident when he concludes with advice to up-and-coming student-athletes.
“To the youngsters who are looking to play or make an FNB Varsity Cup side in future, please come out and study hard to make sure you can qualify to play and make sure you put in extra work at training and hone your craft to be the best it can be. Varsity Cup is potentially one of the best atmospheres to play in and as well as a stepping stone for higher and greater honours.”
PLAYER PROFILE Travis Gordon
Full name: Travis Wayne Louis Gordon
Born: 15/3/1999 in Johannesburg
Positions: Openside flank/No. 8
Studying: BCom General Majoring in Insurance and Risk Management (3rd Year)