The University of the Western Cape (UWC) was instrumental when the University Sport South Africa (USSA) team won the 2018 International University Sports Federation (FISU) World University Rugby Sevens Championship in Namibia over the weekend.
UWC’s Clement Trout was the team manager and assistant coach and forward Verno Treu played all the games that culminated in the men’s team beating Australia 24-14 in the final to bring home the trophy. And UWC’s own Leandi Smith was part of the women’s team which finished fourth at the biannual event, which took place in Swakopmund from 12 to 14 July 2018.
The UWC contingent are “chuffed” to have been selected to be in the national team
“Our selection shows that UWC rugby club can produce players and coaches that can compete at the highest level,” Trout comments. “It speaks volumes about UWC’s contribution to the national sport set-up.”
“This says a lot about the quality of sport at the University, and we are proud to be associated with such a prestigious club. I’m sure we will have many more future Springbok players, administrators and managers and coaches coming from our ranks.”
Trout believes the more than eight years he’s spent with UWC rugby prepared him well for his stint on the national team.
“At UWC we have a strong work ethic and a never-give-up attitude,” he explains. “There were a couple of tight games in the tournament, and bringing together players from different universities, I had to pass on that knowledge to them - and it helped.”
He won’t soon forget this international experience.
“It was a privilege and an honour to represent my country and to be an ambassador for UWC,” he says. “I have grown and developed so much from being in the national team.”
Achieving Dreams Through Sport
Leandi Smith echoes Coach Trout’s sentiment.
“Coming from an underprivileged community like Mitchell’s Plain, it was an honour for me to play for the national students’ team,” she said.
Smith normally plays as a natural winger, but she was thrown in as a scrum half in Namibia, something she described as “tricky but educative”.
“It was great playing against top teams like France, Brazil and Australia with different techniques. It was an amazing experience. I learned a lot of new things, developed new skills, met new people, and became a better player - and a better person.”
Among the lessons she takes home from rugby are discipline and time management - and ambition: she is more motivated than ever to advance women’s rugby on campus and in her community.
For Vernon Treu, donning the national jersey was a dream come true.
“It has always been my childhood dream to wear the green and gold colours,” he says, “and to have come so far, knowing all the hard work I have put in, is really an unbelievable feeling.”
Now that he knows what it takes to be on top, Treu says, this will only push him to work even harder and encourage his teammates to do the same.
“I don’t want to be just a great player but also a great leader - and I believe in leading by example. I would encourage everyone to never give up on their dreams - because dreams do come true if you really want to, no matter your age.”