The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE rugby international player, Blithe Tinotenda Mavesere’s stellar performance in South Africa’s Varsity Cup for the University of the Western Cape (UWC) has yielded more dividends after the loose forward signed a professional contract with the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks.
According to the UWC, Mavesere has penned a two-year deal with the Sharks. Mavesere is not the only UWC player who is joining the professional as scrumhalf Branden de Kock 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.
Mavesere, De Kock and Manuel 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, a former Springboks sevens coach congratulated the three players and said their ascendency to professional rugby is what the university’s 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,’’ Treu said.
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.
Mavesere, who is doing his Bachelor of Arts, truly stood out was even voted the 2021 Varsity Cup Forward that Rocks and runner-up in the Overall Player that Rocks. The loose forward 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.