Star Kovsies hooker PW van Vuuren is currently in his sixth year of Shimlas rugby, but he has been desperately unlucky when it comes to injuries over the years.
“I injured my neck early last year and missed out on the first six months of 2011 – including the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International. Later in 2011 I also ripped my hamstring (badly) in the Cheetahs’ second Currie Cup match against the Bulls,” the 23-year-old said.
Van Vuuren currently has a left hamstring injury – yet again.
He will miss the Shimlas’ Round Five Varsity Cup match against FNB UP-Tuks on Monday, but will be ready again when his side meets FNB TUT at home the week after.
“I am basically old and experienced, but have too few games behind me because of all my injuries.
“I am hoping that we will make it into fourth place this season which would mean another semifinal place. We can do it and anything can still happen in the Varsity Cup. Shimlas have truly not played their best rugby yet.”
But what is it that keeps PW coming back after each and every setback? “Enjoying the game is the most important thing there is. If I do not enjoy it anymore, what would it help me to play?”
PW matriculated from Grey College in 2006 and studied B.com accounting at the Kovsies. He is now busy doing a CFP diploma at the UFS, “a fun course with few classes”.
Having played First XV rugby for Grey College, for the SA Under-19s (2007) and SAs U20 (2008), as well as his first Currie Cup match at the age of 21 (in 2008), his best rugby memory was made in December 2011.
“Without a doubt the best memory was when I had the opportunity of playing on Twickenham last year December in the Help for Heroes match between the northern and southern hemisphere. It was a charity match raising funds for injured British soldiers.
“Wayne Smith, who coached the All Blacks backline with Graham Henry, Sean Fitzpatrick and Nick Mallett were the southern team’s coaches. It was great having the chance to take the field with legends like Justin Marshall, Joe Roff and AJ Venter. Ben Cohen was in our opposing team. It was also nice having Andries Strauss and Sias Ebersohn from the Cheetahs playing alongside me over there.”
The south won this match 36-22, as PW also played alongside a rugby hero of his own in this match, adding: “(New Zealand’s) Adam Thomson really impressed me. He is so chilled out and at rest with everything. That weekend in Twickenham he actually went to meet the Prime Minister with his slippers on!”
Outside of varsity and rugby obligations, PW spends time with his buddies as much as he possibly can. He prefers hunting in the winter and also coaches at Willem Postma Primary School in Bloemfontein.
As far as the future goes he is still uncertain, revealing: “I’m contracted with the Cheetahs until the end of 2012. I’d like to work part-time next year, and play more rugby. Yet I am still uncertain about it… What must happen, will happen.”
By Stefan Lotter