'There's no better place to play than Danie Craven'

FNB Varsity Cup

FNB Maties captain Adriaan van der Bank speaks about leadership, balancing rugby and his studies, and the advantage of playing a final at the Danie Craven Stadium.

How does it feel to captain FNB Maties?
It's a massive honour and privilege. This is a special place for me and I'm grateful for the opportunity. It's also a massive responsibility but I'm enjoying every second of it.

How do you keep the team focused?
We set a goal at the beginning of the season and we constantly remind each other about it and what the processes are to achieve it. Coach Norman Jordaan usually says we're all captains in our position. So everyone takes ownership of their own actions which makes the job a lot easier.

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How did the team feel after the semi-final win against FNB UCT Ikeys?
We were very happy with the result. We stuck to our plan and processes and it paid off at the end. We still made a few mistakes that we can improve on.

The final is a sell-out. Are you excited to play it at the Danie Craven Stadium?
Definitely. There's no better place to play than the Danie Craven. I still get goosebumps every time I run on. Neethling Fouche [the Stormers prop who represented FNB Maties in 2018] said at a team talk that one day when he goes to heaven he's sure there will be a Danie Craven Stadium up there. I don't think there's a better way to sum it up.

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Do you have a message for the loyal Maties fans?
Thank you to everyone who believed in us and supported us through the ups and downs of this season. You all make this experience so much more enjoyable, you drive us when times are tough to be better and give a bit extra. We see and appreciate all your messages of support.

How do you balance rugby and academics?
This year I'm doing my honours degree in education and it's fully online which makes it a lot easier.

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Interview by Dorfling Terblanche