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Words of encouragement for UKZN from Lwazi Ngcungama

With nothing to show after the first two rounds of the 2024 FNB Varsity Shield competition, FNB UKZN the team have had words of encouragement pouring in from all corners. 



One such voice is that of Lwazi Ngcungama. He was captain of the Impis, crowned Varsity Shield champions in 2015 after they beat the now-promoted FNB Wits 29-24 in the final.  

 

Ngcungama, who now plays his professional career with French side Saint-Denis Rugby 93 in the Fédérale 1 competition, shared his thoughts about the current situation and also looked back on some of the experiences he had playing in the Varsity Shield. 

 

What would be your message to the team at this point? 

 

“It’s tough right now yes, it's never easy getting people texting you and asking what’s going on with the team. But to the team, block every noise out. Focus on what you have to do. Play for each other and things will turn around at some point.” 

 

Looking at the Impi’s form in the last two years and comparing it to the identity and culture of when they won the title in 2015, what do you think is the difference now?  

 

“I can’t really say much about this year’s team and last year’s team because I’m not there anymore. But I do follow the team. With our team back in 2015, club culture was most important to us. We understood each other off the field. It made it easy to play. When we didn’t have a game, we would organise get-togethers and braais. We did a lot of things together as a team”. 

 

How has your journey been since leaving UKZN and how did Varsity Shield help you to get to this point? 

 

“After leaving UKZN in 2015 I went to England. I got an opportunity to go for an exchange SARU program for about a year. It was an amazing experience. I came back to SA and played for College Rovers for about 3 months. Then I left and got a contract this side in France. Without Varsity Shield I don’t think I would have been recognised. Varsity Shield provided that stepping stone for me to be seen.” 

 

How was it like lifting that cup when you and the team won in 2015?  

 

“Thinking about that game still gives me goosebumps. It was nerve-racking and emotional, especially for me as it was my last Shield match. We had played and lost in the final the previous year and we didn’t want to lose again. I remember I scored the first try and thereafter it was a back-and-forth. Finally, after all those years, we won. Lifting that trophy was out of this world. It’s something I will hold dear to my heart for the rest of my life.“ 


 

by Mpendulo Letsoalo

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