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11 March 2022
Leaner, meaner 'Jubba' reflects on personal journey
FNB UWC prop Justin Theys speaks about his fight to regain fitness and his dream to play professional rugby.

Theys, affectionately known as 'Jubba' by his teammates, has been with the team for the past six years. The 24-year-old prop has become a consistent feature in the FNB UWC side, but there was a time when he considered quitting rugby and pursuing a full-time job.

"I saw how many of my teammates were moving up into professional playing opportunities," he said. "I was always told I had potential, but my penalty count was too high, I was always getting cards, I was overly aggressive, and I was overweight.

"So I decided to get a nine-to-five job. That was an eye-opener. I was working but the question remained unanswered: Was I good enough to make it as a professional rugby player?

"I missed the pre-season with UWC because I was working. I thought that 2021 would be my last season with the side, and obviously I was wrong."
A slimmed-down Justin Theys against FNB Shimlas on Matchday 1

Theys started to get into a healthy routine. He ran regularly, he stuck to his diet, and he focused on his conditioning.

"Every day, I saw a sign of progress in my physique and speed. It was tough but for me really just a very personal journey."

Theys lost 15kg in the pre-season and returned to the team fitter, faster and stronger than ever before.

He still dreams about getting his shot as a professional player.

"I’m down to 132kg," he said. "My penalty count is down, I’m not spending time in the sin bin and you can see how much stronger I am now.

"I am still rof and ombeskof on the field but not to the detriment of my team. I play the game hard and aggressive but off the field I’m really chilled.

"I believe that some coach or recruitment officer will see how much time and effort I’ve spent on improving myself in every aspect. I am emotionally mature now and ready for the next level."

Theys is hoping that he will make this 2022 season with FNB UWC one to remember.

"Coach Chester [Williams] called me in 2016 and it’s been a great six years with my beloved Udubs. I’ve made memories and friends for life here and I would love for this team to do well."

UWC will count on the skills of Theys and his teammates when they welcome four-time champions FNB UP-Tuks in a Round 5 clash at UWC Sports Stadium on Monday afternoon. CLICK HERE to buy tickets. Kick-off is at 17h00 and the match will be televised live on SuperSport.

Article by Shafiek Mouton courtesy Varsity Cup Media. Images Skhu Nkomphela/UWC Sport and Nasief Manie/ASEM Engage.