A week before the start of the 2023 FNB Varsity Cup, former Springbok prop and Free State legend, Ollie le Roux, had no idea that he would be involved in the tournament, while FNB CUT Ixias were also not given a chance in the competition.
Le Roux answered coach Melusi Mtethwa’s SOS and he linked up with the team as a consultant to plough back into the sport. Le Roux’s influence was immediately visible in the way the forwards came together as a unit, and with the scrums holding their
against the very best.
Le Roux has likened Mthethwa to some of the very best coaches by comparing the tactician to Rassie Erasmus (Cheetahs, Springboks), Ian McIntosh (Sharks, Springboks) and Michael Cheika (Wallabies, Argentina).
A 54-time capped Springbok, Le Roux says with what Mthethwa has put in place, his role in the team has been made a lot easier. It’s just been a matter of dialling in on the finer details to turn a bunch of hopefuls into semi-final contenders.
“The amazing thing was the platform was already laid when I got there. The players were fit and well-organised. There were a couple of small technical things that every team has, but as we worked on that it all just fell into place.
“If I have a look at our games, we are playing really good rugby and we are scoring at least five tries per match. We are not as experienced as the other teams. Our most experienced players have just ten caps, whereas teams like the NWU Eagles have players that have already played 35 Varsity Cup games.
“Just to see the heart of these players is something special - that's what rugby is about. Beating Maties (watch highlights HERE) and Tuks (watch highlights HERE) was massive for us, and seeing how we beat UJ was something to behold. I believe that this is a team that will keep on building.
“The awesome thing for Free State Rugby is that we have a strong CUT team and a strong Shimlas team, we will have a massive base to feed into the Cheetahs and get our province to do very well.
“It's just a privilege for me to be able to put a bit of knowledge back into the CUT team.”
CUT Ixias are hosting FNB UCT Ikeys in their final round-robin game of the campaign today (15:30). A good win could see them secure a semi-final spot depending on the FNB Wits vs FNB NWU game and the outcome of the FNB Maties vs FNB Shimlas game.