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Wednesday, 07 July 2021

Four rugby players sign professional contracts

ALL-STAR PERFORMANCE: The CPUT rugby team’s stellar performance in the 2021 Varsity Shield campaign has yielded more dividends after four players signed professional contracts to play rugby at a higher level. ALL-STAR PERFORMANCE: The CPUT rugby team’s stellar performance in the 2021 Varsity Shield campaign has yielded more dividends after four players signed professional contracts to play rugby at a higher level.

“When getting a chance in wearing the CPUT jersey just remember the okes that played before you. It's all about the legacy you want to leave behind.”

This is the message to up-and-coming players, from Bjorkan Hendricks, one of four CPUT players who recently signed professional contracts to play rugby at a higher level. Che` Klaasen, Ameer Hendricks and Bjorkan Hendricks all landed contracts with the Boland Cavaliers, while Lunathi Nxele signed with the side from George, South Western Districts (SWD) Eagles. Both unions will be competing in the Currie Cup division.

Sports Development Officer, Bulelani Mlakalaka reveals that Lunathi will join former CPUT player, Ralton October, who is also playing for SWD Eagles.  “For Lunathi and Ameer, it is a great way to end off their rugby career with CPUT as they now will play in a higher division,” Mlakalaka continues.

“The CPUT rugby team’s stellar performance [winners] in the 2021 Varsity Shield campaign has yielded more dividends with four players signing professional contracts to play rugby at a higher level.”

Bjorkan, a 21-year-old centre from Wellington, played for Boland in the U/13 Craven week before departing to Pretoria where he studied at Hoërskool Garsfontein, one of the top schools in the Blue Bulls Union. “I got the opportunity to represent Blue Bulls at Grant Khomo U/16 in 2015 and Academy Week in 2016 and 2017 where we won the tournament, beating Western Province in the final,” he continues.

“I signed my contract after the Varsity Shield and that feeling of all the hard work I had to put in even before the Varsity Shield started paying off and I am so grateful for where I am at the moment. Living my dream and passion. It is also nice to be back home after so long and representing my town and union.” 

Che`, raised by a single mother from Grabouw says since he finished school, he always wanted to take his rugby to the next level. However, he encountered many disappointments throughout the years, “But I never gave up. What that taught me was to always work hard and make sure I give my dream my everything. Winning Varsity Shield with CPUT this year has certainly opened doors for me and I’ll make sure I make the best of it.” 

Che` joined the Boland Currie Cup squad a month before the Currie Cup first division started. “It’s always been a dream of mine to play for them. Coming from a town in the Boland it is always a special feeling to represent the Union.”

The Kariega born, Lunathi says “people that know me know the love I have for the game. Honestly speaking, playing rugby is one of the professions I wanted to follow so badly. I’m still working towards where I still want to be. I’m not there yet! But I’m grateful to be where I’m at the moment.” The 25-year-old centre sees himself playing for one of the bigger unions in South Africa. The marketing student, who was also the captain of the Varsity Shield champions in 2019, says he is ready for the new challenge at SWD Eagles. “It’s something that will make me a better person and player.”

The Mitchells Plain-born lock, Ameer comes from humble beginnings and a family that is really passionate about rugby. He says: “One thing I can say is that my journey was a tough one, however, I enjoy the challenges that come with this ride and my biggest motivation has to be my family they are the reason behind my drive and willingness to keep on going, no matter how impossible my dream may seem.”

Ameer adds: “I’m really grateful to Boland for the opportunity they have given me, it's something I always dreamt of but thought it would probably never happen.”

Written by Aphiwe Boyce