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8 June 2021
UWC rugby stars land professional contracts
The University of the Western Cape (UWC) rugby team’s stellar performance in the 2021 Varsity Cup campaign has yielded more dividends after three players signed professional contracts to play rugby at higher levels.
 
Star loose-forward Tinotenda Mavesere has penned a two-year deal with the KwaZulu-Natal-based Sharks; scrumhalf Branden de Kock (pictured, below) is moving to Bloemfontein to join the Cheetahs on a 12-month contract; and centre André Manuel will be on the books of the Boland provincial side.

The three will join a growing list of current and former UWC rugby players who are plying their trade at professional level. They include 2021 squad members Lyle Hendricks and Jason Alexander who are with the Western Province, as well as Stormers and Springbok scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies.
 
UWC head coach Paul Treu congratulated the three players, and said their promotions gel what the University rugby team has been trying to achieve.

“This is great news for us and it recognises our programme and what we are trying to achieve. And obviously their studies are going to be important and we will see how they are going to accommodate that. Those players, together with a few others, really deserve to get call-ups to play in the Currie Cup or to be part of provincial teams. And we are excited to see them play at those levels this year.”
 
Mavesere, de Kock and Manuel were key members of UWC’s successful Varsity Cup season, which saw them finishing in a respectable sixth position on the log, and took many people by surprise with an exciting and attacking brand of rugby. 
 
Cape Town-born De Kock, who is also doing his BA on campus, was central in the Udubs team, as was Manuel from Paarl, who is doing his Bachelor's Degree in Education.

And Mavesere, the Zimbabwean international who is doing his Bachelor of Arts, truly stood out - and was even voted the 2021 Varsity Cup Forward that Rocks and runner-up in the Overall Player that Rocks.

Mavesere started in seven of UWC’s nine matches in the Varsity Cup - scoring seven tries and taking home a couple of Player that Rocks awards.

De Kock, who also started seven matches, was UWC's leading points-scorer courtesy of his dual role as scrumhalf and placekicker. His 71 points came via 20 conversions, eight penalties and a try against FNB CUT.

Manuel (pictured, right), meanwhile, started six matches (half as a rightwinger), and dotted down three times in total - two against FNB UJ and another in the Chester Williams Memorial Trophy clash against FNB UCT Ikeys.

Photos by Skhu Nkomphela - UWC Sport/Catherine Kotze - FNB Varsity Cup