Rector urges Rugby team to heal the campus
UWC Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius, has challenged the University rugby club to win the Varsity Shield Competition, contribute in uniting the university community and help in rebuilding the image of the institution.
At a send-off function on Friday 29 January, ahead of their opening Varsity Shield encounter away at Fort Hare University on Monday evening, the Rector said it was time for UWC to play in the Varsity Cup, the premier university rugby tournament. “It’s high time that we play Varsity Cup, not Varsity Shield,” Pretorius told the team. “It’s up to you to deliver that at the end of this year. I expect nothing less than winning the shield.”
Pretorius reminded the team about the students protest late last year for accessible quality education for the poor, and reiterated the University's stance in supporting the campaign but condemning the violence and intimidation that happened on campus.
He said the campaign divided the campus significantly, and referred to the great role that sport can play in unifying the country, challenging the team and other sport codes to be the great unifiers on this campus. “I need a winning team to bring this divided community together and support the rugby team as one community.”
The Rector also said that despite its history, UWC is considered one of the top universities in South Africa and on the continent through its achievements over the years. But last year’s events have dented the University’s reputation.
“I therefore challenge you to help rebuild the image of this university. Your achievement on the sports field, in the same way as the achievement of the men’s football and the beach volleyball teams last year, put UWC in the spotlight and made it the destination of choice for many first year students. Many of them are coming here because they want to be associated with the winning sports university. So my challenge to you is to help this university to re-establish its brand as a winning university”.
Pretorius noted that it’s often said that placing a team under such pressure inevitably affects their performance. “I do want to affect your performance, but I want to affect your performance positively because when you take to the field I want you to keep in mind those three pressures. Your commitment on that sports field must be to those pressures. It must be a commitment to what this university is and what it can be. The executive and the broader university community join me to wish you well.”