FNB Varsity Cup
Flyhalf David Hayes talks about the FNB UCT Ikeys' outstanding attack, the input of former Springbok centre Robbie Fleck, and what it would mean to win the FNB Varsity Cup title after falling agonisingly short in 2021.
Where does your love for the game come from? My love of rugby started when I was very young. I used to play with my two younger brothers and my father in the garden. I started playing the game in preschool with my friends. I was always keen to play any sport, but rugby stood out for me.
Where are you from? I was born in Durban, but I went to school at SACS in Cape Town. My brothers and I are very family-orientated. From a young age, we have been playing all sports together. That's probably why I'm so competitive.
The FNB UCT Ikeys have been one of the most effective sides on attack. Why have you been so successful in this area? We've been able to attack so well because of our system and coaches. We've been so fortunate to have such a great attack coach in [former Springbok centre and Stormers coach] Robbie Fleck and I think he has really helped our attack to grow to new heights. By doing the small things well, we boost our attack. It's not just about playing wide passes – nothing like that – but to start small and go big.
Physically your attack might not be the strongest but mentally and tactically you are one of the best in the competition. What's the secret? The attack isn't there to be physically dominant and try to run over someone per se, but we are trying to set really good pictures and give ourselves lots of options. Our attack is very good and we just need to keep building on it to ensure that we keep giving ourselves enough options to find gaps.
You were the FNB Player That Rocks after the big win against FNB Wits. How did it feel to win that accolade? The boys were unbelievable – they gave me so many different attacking options to allow me to play on the frontline and play my game. I think that's how I got into the game, through the boys performing their roles correctly.
How much would it mean for you guys to win the FNB Varsity Cup this season? It's very tight at the top of the log. Almost every team in the top four has lost two games, which is amazing for the tournament. I do think we stand a chance of winning it, and to us, it would mean a lot, especially after we lost in the final last year. Bouncing back from that would be amazing.
What does it mean to you to represent the Ikey Tigers? UCT is a great club. Playing for them is so much fun. The club is so inclusive and it is such an amazing club to be part of.
What's your ultimate goal in rugby? I've never really thought too far ahead. I would love to play rugby as a career, but I've never put it as my goal dream. I know that I love my rugby and that I want to keep playing. There are a lot of opportunities out there, but for now, I want to enjoy playing with my good mates here at UCT.
Who motivates and inspires you? My family. They have always been there to support me throughout school, and even beyond that. I have been so fortunate to have them. I used to look up to Dan Carter, as he was an unbelievable flyhalf for New Zealand.
Interview by Ayanda Frances Felem