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Jandré van Zyl is excited about rebuilding with TUT

Rebuilding is one word that could be associated with the FNB TUT Vikings with their performances during the 2023 FNB Varsity Shield season.

From finishing bottom of the log last year to fighting for a semi-final spot this year alludes to progress in coach Kennedy Tsimba’s vision of bringing glory days back to the Pretoria-based team.

This feat cannot be achieved without having good players in your squad, and Tsimba seems to have brought the best out of individuals like Malcolm Langa, Olwethu Pence and Pretoria-born and former Hoërskool Waterkloof hooker Jandré van Zyl.

Van Zyl has certainly made his presence felt the last couple of weeks and says despite the competition is tough, he thoroughly enjoys it.

“When I was at the Harlequins (now Quins-Bobbies Rugby Club) last year, one of our coaches approached me with an opportunity to play for TUT and then after a couple of weeks coach Kennedy texted me to join the TUT Vikings system.”

In his debut Varsity Shield season, Van Zyl has become an integral part of the Vikings and describes the competition as tough but also enjoyable.

“The Varsity Shield is a great competition, every week you play against a new opponent, and it’s never the same game. It is nice to travel to all the places, it is a professional set-up.”

Rugby runs in Van Zyl’s blood as his father played for Tuks and his grandfather had short stints with Western Province and the Cheetahs. Van Zyl says he listens to the advice of his dad and combines it with what the coaches are looking for.

“I am just trying to give it my all on the field to make the team better. Without the great forward pack, I have I don’t think I would be as much of a stand-out player as I am now, they put in the hard work for me to cross over the try line.”

TUT will need to overcome FNB CPUT and defending champions FNB UFH in their last pool matches if they want to finish in the top four and progress to the semi-finals. Van Zyl says they know they can do it.

“We need to take it game by game. We are trying to take TUT rugby to a new phase with coach Kennedy and everyone else involved and bring back a bit more respect for the TUT name.”

by Lehlogonolo Ditshego

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