They will always form part of who I am. The Friends I made and memories will always be with me. I grew up in Bethlehem, the place where my foundation was laid to who I am today.
A family man who lives close to his family. Siblings studying in Bethlehem and Bloemfontein, while parents are still at home. Engaged in December to the woman of his dreams Dane Visagie the devout Christian and now Griquas captain looks towards the new Currie Cup season as Griquas look to re-emerge as a force in South African rugby.
BC – RJ, how are you?
RJ – I am very well thank you. Very excited that the season will be starting soon. I have high hopes for Griquas to do well and believe in the boys and the structures we have placed here.
BC – How is pre-season going?
RJ – Pre-Season has been hard, but the atmosphere and vision the guys have is exceptional. I believe in hard work, and that is what we do here at Griquas. We work hard. We have a goal and that is what we are working towards. Conditioning wise; the guys are in great shape. Our conditioning coach Neil Murphy has been pushing the boy and putting us through our paces.
BC – You are going into a new era with the Griquas. A few years of struggle and rebuilding have ensued. How are you guys approaching the new season?
RJ – Look last year was very tough. Our focus is on the new challenges we have for 2016. Of course we have noticed mistakes we made last season and we have learned from them. We want something new, we want to create something new. As a group, moving into a new era is what excites me. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I am greatly excited about the change set to happen.
BC – What are the Griquas aiming to achieve this year as a side?
RJ – I believe it’s important to align our values and beliefs as a team. Creating our own idea of progress. We want to win, we want to be successful. And also bring pride back to Griquas Jersey. Win people’s hearts and to receive exciting and passionate support.
BC – What are your goals as a player personally?
RJ – My goals are simple. To improve from last season. To be more accurate in my decision making and in performances. My goal is to be successful in what we as a team want to achieve and move forward towards a higher standard.
BC – You played Varsity Cup Rugby a few years ago. It has evolved over the years as well. What is your take on the 9 point try experiment? Do you think initiatives like this would help sides score tries or it’s not going to develop or impact the game that much?
RJ – The initiative of creating the 9 point scoring system is definitely to challenge teams to score more tries. I think it’s great, as a younger player at Varsity Cup level I believed it should be more about enjoying and developing. It should remain the same now. Scoring tries is enjoying the game.
Just on Varsity Cup, it’s a great platform for South African rugby. I enjoyed playing there. The fact that they put so much emphasis on studying is the biggest benefit to the players.
BC – Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
RJ – Retired probably. I will be married, a father and I will likely be a working man, great father and husband.
BC – You are going to be part of an expanded Currie Cup. Do you feel it will be of any benefit to the smaller unions? What are your thoughts on the format?
RJ – Yes the expanded Currie Cup gives everyone a fair chance. Competition brings the best out of everyone. The new format basically just replaced the Vodacom Cup. There are definitely more games, translating to the season being long. The managing of players is going to be important.
BC – Tell us about the impact of Coach Peter Engeldow on the side? What type of coach is he?
RJ – Coach Peet is someone that wants to invest into the players lives not just as a rugby player but also as people. A head coach has a huge impact just because of his title and Coach Peet believes in being positive. He has clear goals for the team and often shares them with us. He wants us to work together as a unit.
If the team does well, he does well. We are all together and that is what he stands for. I believe in our coaching staff. They have passion, vision, understanding and values.
BC – Favourite brand?
RJ – Adidas.
BC – Favourite car?
RJ – Any Ford. I work with Human Auto Ford in Kimberley and would like to give them acknowledgment. They have been good to me and the service was by far the best I have ever had.